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The writer of Australian history is confronted 
with peculiar difficulties. The clamour of the strife 
which accompanied the birth of free institutions has 
scarcely died away and the greater part of the litera- 
ture dealing with past events is so tainted by the 
heated feelings of partizans that it is necessary to use 
it with the greatest caution. Then, again, sufficient 
time has not elapsed to allow the incidents of former 
years to disclose their full significance, and matters 
which are really still producing grave changes in 
social and political life are apt to appear of little 
consequence, while others of a less far-reaching 
character assume an unmerited importance. In the 
following pages the desire has been to adhere as 
closely as possible to the story of the seven colonies 
without entering into questions which are still the 
subject of contention ; but there are many things in 
connection with the marvellous progress of these 
young communities which it has been impossible to 
mention here. The gradual formation of a new 
society — a new nation — in a New World cannot fail 
to be a spectacle of absorbing interest, but to trace 


each step in the process of its evolution would re- 
quire far more space than is available. So many 
books, public documents, and records have been con- 
sulted that it is impossible to acknowledge each 
separately, but the writer is indebted in some degree 
to most of the accepted authorities on Australasian 
affairs. This little volume has been written amidst 
many disadvantages, and under very great pressure 
of official work ; but it is hoped that it may induce 
some to make a better acquaintance with this Great 
South Land, which Governor Phillip in 1788 so fitly 
described as "the most valuable acquisition Great 
Britain ever made." 







Early Discoverers. 1503-1772 .... 

The motive for maritime discovery — De Gonneville — The 
voyage of the Dztyfkett — Dirk Hartog — Other Dutch Ex- 
plorers — The wreck of the Batavia — Tasman — Dampier — 
William de Vlaming — The last Dutch Expedition — Cook — 
The transit of Venus — Cook sights the Great South Land — 
Botany Bay — Wreck of the Endeavour — Banks — Marion du 
Fresne and De Surville. 


The First Fleet, 1788 


Cook's report — The American Colonies — Matra's proposal — 
The American loyalists — A change in the treatment of 
criminals — Suggestions for a Convict Colony — The Plan — 
Lord Sydney selects Captain Phillip to command — Phillip's 
previous career — Preparations — Incompleteness of arrange- 
ments — Phillip's dreams of the future — The "First Fleet" 
sets sail — Rio de Janeiro — Portuguese courtesy — The Cape of 
Good Hope — The Australian coast is sighted — Arrival in 
Botany Bay — Phillip explores Port Jackson — Sydney Cove 
selected — La Perouse. 




Botany Bay. i 788-1 792 33 

The landing — Advice to the convicts — King is sent to 
Norfolk Island — Attempts at cultivation — Early troubles — 
The military — Major Ross — Exploration of the surrounding 
country — Good land is found at Rose Hill — Apprehension as to 
the supply of food — Strained relations between Phillip and 
Ross — Ross places his officers under arrest — The natives — 
Phillip's good intentions — Their property vv^antonly destroyed 
by the convicts — Arabanoo — Bennilong and Colebe — Phillip 
is speared — Sickness amongst the convicts — The food supply 
— Convicts attempt to escape — The story of Bryant — Ross is 
subordinate — Loss of the Sirius — The colony is threatened 
with starvation — Phillip's heroism — The look-out at South 
Head — Arrival of the Juliana zn^ Justinian — The full ration 
restored — Mutton Birds at Norfolk Island — Ross is recalled — 
The New South Wales Corps — Famine again threatens — 
Phillip retires. 

The Convicts and their Guards. 1792-1806 . 48 

Grose and the magistrates — Indulgences to the military — 
Grose disregards instructions — The commencement of the 
spirit traffic— King at Norfolk Island— Troubles with the 
soldiers — King is firm— Grose disapproves — King and the 
Maoris — Corn bills— Grose retires — Arrival of Hunter- 
Attempts to reform — His opinion of the New South "Wales 
Corps — King is sent to supersede him — The liquor traffic and 
military traders — Macarthur — King's measures — The female 
orphan institution — The convicts become restless — The insur- 
rection—Pursuit of the rebels— The treatment of prisoners 
— The Hawkesbury settlers— The administration of justice — 
The military give more trouble — King leaves the colony. 




The Deposition of Governor Bligh. 1806-1810 67 

State of the settlement — Rumours of insurrection — Bligh's 
previous career — Banks recommends him for the command — 
Banks' letter to Bligh — Bligh soon makes enemies — The 
quarrel with Macarthur — He appeals for a fair trial — The 
alleged conspiracy — The Court upholds his appeal — Bligh 
tries to coerce the Court — Johnston arrives in Sydney — 
Macarthur is released — ^Johnston is petitioned to depose 
Bligh — Bligh is arrested, and Johnston assumes command — 
Bligh on the Porpoise — The case of Mr. Suttor — The Court- 
martial of Johnston. 


The Emancipists. 1810-1822 . . , . 84 

Governor Macquarie arrives — -Recall of the New South Wales 
Corps — Bligh's return — Public buildings and works^ — The ' 
spirit contract — The assignment system — Commerce — With- 
drawal of indulgences — Discovery of a Pass over the Blue 
Mountains — Macquarie on Bathurst Plains — Further explora- 
tions — Troubles with the natives — Social questions — The 
trespass incident — Bigge's report — Macquarie is recalled. 


The Rule of Brisbane and Darling. 1822-1831 97 

Arrival of Governor Brisbane — The New South Wales Judi- 
cature Act — Changes in the Constitution — The case of Dr. 
Douglas — Free immigrants — Bushranging — The freedom of 
the Press — Darling takes command — The Newspaper Act — 
Libel actions — Amendments in the Constitution — The Eman- 
cipists and trial by jury — Fisher's ghost — Land legislation — 
Speculation — The industrial crisis — Increase in bushranging — 
The case of Sudds and Thompson — Darling is recalled — 
Exploration — Currie and Ovens — Allan Cunningham — Hume 
and Hovell — Stuart— Mitchell. 




Changes in the Constitution. 1831-1846 . 114 

Governor Bourke — -Questions of Finance — The Bushranging 
Act is renewed — Bourke attempts to improve the condition 
of the convicts — Agitation for Representative Government — 
The Patriotic Association — The Pohce and Gaols question — 
Burton's charge— Education — ReHgion — The pamphlet by 
" Humanitas " — Riddell is elected Chairman of Quarter 
Sessions — Bourke dismisses him from the Executive Council 
— Bourke resigns — Assisted immigration — The Commercial 
Crisis of 1843 — The Bank of Australia lottery — Boiling-down 
commenced — Outrages on the natives — The Myall Creek mas- 
sacre — Changes in the Land Laws — The Governor and the 
squatters — A new constitution — Liens on growing crops and 
the mortgage of live stock — Gipps and his Council — Gipps 
prorogues Parliament. 


The Struggle for Free Institutions. 1846-1851 131 

Governor Fitzroy — Reconciliation of Government with Par- 
liament — The Question of Quit Rents — The Abolition of 
Transportation — The arrival of the Hashemy — Mrs. Chisholm 
— Education — Sydney University — Agitation for self-govern- 
ment — Earl Grey's despatch on the Constitution excites 
general opposition — The Report of the Committee of the 
Privy Council — Wentworth opposes its recommendations — 
The solemn protest of the Legislative Council — The new 
Parliament — Sir John Pakington's despatch — Changes in 
society — Wentworth — Lang — Lowe — Deas Thompson. 


The Discovery of Gold. 1851 . . . . 144 

Gold first mentioned in 1823 — Strzlecki — Clarke — McGregor 
— The rush to California — Hargrave returns to Australia and 
finds gold — The discovery proved — The first rush — Absurd 
proposals — Deas Thompson's regulations — Disturbances at the 
Turon — Nuggets — Miners' earnings — Wages and prices — 
Great influx of population. 




Responsible Government, i 853-1 885 . • 151 

Wentworth's draft Constitution Bill— The proposed here- 
ditary Upper House provokes opposition — Wentworth's 
prophecy — The Bill is passed by the Council and receives 
Royal Assent — Changes of ministries — Early legislation — 
Robertson's land legislation — Free selection — Effects of the 
measure — Abolition of State Aid to religion — A peculiar 
political crisis — Material progress — Internal communication — 
Railways — The unemployed — The Eight Hours Movement — 
Bushrangers — Insecurity of life and property — The outbreak 
at Golden Point — Liberal legislation — Payment of Members 
— Triennial Parliaments — The attack on the Duke of Edin- 
burgh — The Treason Felony Act — Execution of O'Farrell — 
Public Instruction — Land Legislation — The Soudan Contin- 


Present Condition of the Colony. 1893 . 170 

Pastoral industries — Agriculture — Settlement — Mining — 
— Internal communication — The future. 



The Settlement at the Derwent. 1803-183 7 . iSo 

Fears of the Fr-ench — Bowen and Collins — The natives — The 
massacre at Risdon — The Norfolk Island settlers — Scarcity of 
food — Death of Collins — Macquarie visits the island — The 
Judge- Advocate — The Lieutenant-Governor's Court — In- 
dustrial development — Bushrangers — The proclamation of 
martial law — The recall of Governor Davey — Discoveries — 
Sorrell checks bushranging — The story of Michael Howe — 
Importations of sheep — The management of the convicts — The 
first church — The Legislative and Executive Councils — The 
Press — The Hobart Town Gazette — Newspaper Act — Agita- 
tion for Representative Government — Arthur's measures — The 



Usury Laws — Exploration — The Van Diemen's Land Com- 
pany — Executions — Attempts to escape — The story of the 
Cyprus — The natives — BrutaHty of the settlers — George 
Augustus Robinson — The black line — Arthur leaves the 


Events Preceding Constitutional Government. 
1837-1851 s 

Religious difficulties — State Aid to religion — Franklin's 
methods — Maconochie — Science and Art — Resumption of 
transportation — The agitation for Responsible Government 
is renewed — Franklin is recalled — Wilmot assumes command 
— Unsettled state of the colony — Financial difficulties — 
Estimates of expenditure called for — The Patriotic Six — The 
Imperial Government gives way — Secret accusations — "Wilmot 
is recalled — Exploration — Arrival of Sir William Denison — 
The promise with regard to transportation — The Secretary of 
State breaks the compact — The Anti-Transportation League. 


Under the New Constitution. 1851-1893 . 2 

The Constitution of 1850 — Final abolition of transportation — 
Tasmania — Great exodus of convicts to Victoria — Discovery of 
gold in Tasmania — An exhausted labour market — Tasmanian 
produce at the Victorian goldfields — The Draft Constitution — 
Material progress — Railways — Mining — Education — Public 
works — The agreement of the Launceston and Western Rail- 
way — The final settlement — The discovery of tin at Mount 
Bischoff — Iron deposits — Description of the island — Its re- 
semblance to parts of England — Amendments in the Consti- 
tution — The question of Money Bills — A deadlock — Appoint- 
ment of an Agent-General. 




First Settlement. 1803-1S39 .... 222 

Fears of the intentions of the French — The expedition under 
Collins — Collins asks leave to abandon the settlement — The 
landing at Sorrento — William Buckley — Western Port — 
Victoria again abandoned— The Henty Brothers at Portland 
Bay — Batman's Company — Batman lands at Port Phillip — 
His purchase from the natives — The Government refuse to 
recognise his title — John Pascoe Fawkner — Other settlers 
follow — Governor Bourke's proclamation — A magistrate is 
appointed — Bourke's recommendations. 

The Administration of Mr. Latrobe. 1839-1852. 236 

The appointment of a Superintendent — Progress — The first 
land sale — Early difficulties — A commercial crisis — The elec- 
tions for the New South Wales Council — Agitation for 
separation — The bogus elections — Independence is granted 
— The discovery of gold — The diggings — Immigration — 
Difficulties of administration — The license fee — Highway 
robbery — Convict Prevention Act — Discontent at the 
goldfields — The increase of the license fee — Effects of the 
gold rush — The riotous meetings near Mount Alexander — 
The Government draw back — The hardships of immigrants. 

The Eureka Stockade. 1852-185 7 . . . 248 

The revenue from the goldfields — The cost of Government — 
An export duty on gold proposed — Troubles threaten — The 
disturbance at Forest Creek — The demands of miners — Dis- 
affection at Bendigo — The Governor surrenders — Latrobe 
retires — The arrival of Governor Hotham — The financial 
position — Attempts to collect the license fee — Hotham's tour 
of the goldfields — The case of Bentley — Reinforcements are 
sent to Ballaarat — Hotham is firm — The digger hunt — The 
meeting on Bakery Hill — The attack on the stockade — Rout 
of the rebels — Order is restored. 




The New Constitution, 1857-1863 . . . 260 

Financial difficulties — The framing of the Constitution — 
Democratic tendencies — An elective council — The proclama- 
tion of Responsible Government — The death of Sir Charles 
Ilotham — Sir Henry Barkley arrives — Alterations in the 
Constitution — Exploration — The Burke and Wills expedition 
— Cooper's Creek — A forced march — Burke reaches the 
Northern Coast — A tedious return — Deserted — The search 
for Mount Hopeless — Death of Burke and Wills — Relief 
expeditions — The finding of King. 


Under Responsible Government. 1863-1893 . 268 

Arrival of Sir Charles Darling — Unsettled state of the Colony 
— The Customs Bill — The Council refuses to pass it — The 
" tacking " trick — A deadlock — An ingenious device — The 
Council passes the Customs Bill — Darling's recall — The 
Darling Grant — More tacking — The Governor is firm — 
Another crisis — The solution of the difficulty — Payment of 
Members — The third deadlock — Black Wednesday — An ap- 
peal to England — Mr. Berry's Mission — Recall of Sir George 
Bowen — The Payment of Members Bill is passed — Material 
progress — Inflow of capital — The Coalition Government — 
Public works. 



^Events from 1826 to 1874 276 

The French scare — A detachment is sent to King George's 
Sound — Stirling describes the Swan River — The pioneers — 
The landing at Garden Island — Gloomy prospects — Perth and 
Freemantle — Claims for land — The system of settlement — The 
case of Mr. Peel — General ruin— The natives — Governor Hutt 
— Land regulations — It is proposed to send convicts — The 
offer accepted — The search for new pastures — Fitzgerald's 
account of the Colony — Escapades of the convicts — The pro- 
posal to cease transportation — Explorations. 




Constitutional Changes. 1875-1893 . . 286 

Systems of Government — Agitation for Responsible Govern- 
ment — A compromise suggested — It is refused — A spirited 
public works policy — It is marred by mismanagement — The 
deficit railway construction — The land grant system — The 
electric cable — Revival of agitation for responsible institutions 
— A change in public opinion — The resolutions of the Council 
— Opposition in England — The mission in support of the Con- 
stitution Bill — Mineral resources — Prospects for the future. 



Early Settlement. 182 9- 1840 . . » '295 

Mr. Edward Wakefield's Pamphlets — Colonial Society — 
System of colonisation — Colonisation Board — First landing of' 
emigrants— Foundation of Adelaide — Governor liindniarsh — • 
Hindmarsh and Fisher — Hindmarsh recalled and Fisher dis- 
missed — Governor Gawler — Finances in a hopeless muddle — 
Public works commenced to relieve unemployed — General 
exodus — Three classes of society — Gawler recalled — Loan 
by English Government —Captain George Grey — Brighter 


Improving Prospects. 1840-1855 . . . 307 

Edward John Eyre, Explorer — Sufferings of his party — Mur- 
der of Baxter by blacks — Strange discovery of silver — Captain 
Bagot — Discovery of copper — Princess Royal Company — 
South Australian Mining Company — Burra Burra Mine — 
Gawler's policy of retrenchment — Colonel J. H. Robe — Re- 
ligious Endowment Bill — Sir Henry Young — Navigation of 
River Murray — Mr. Cadell — Discovery of gold — Renewed 
prosperity — New system of coinage — Opening up the Interior 
— Expedition of John McDowall Stuart. 

xviii CONTENTS. 



Under Responsible Government. 1855-1893 . 321 

The first Council— The Franchise— Mr. R. Torrens— Land 
and Mineral Acts — Foundation of Palmerston — Overland 
Telegraph— Submarine Cable — Railways — Survey of the 



The Moreton Bay Settlement. 1825-1851 . 330 

Bigge's Report— Oxley in the Mermaid — The story of 
Pamphlett — The Brisbane River — The establishment of a 
penal settlement at Moreton Bay — The murder of Logan — 
The Darling Downs — The penal establishment is abandoned 
— Sir George Gipps marks out the town of Brisbane — A 
Police Magistrate is appointed — The aborigines — The native 
police — The treatment of the blacks — Explorations — Sturt— 
Leichardt — Mitchell — Kennedy. 

The Colony of Queensland. 1851-1893 . . 342 

Separation from New South Wales — Sir George Bowen 
appointed first Governor — Constitution — Discovery of gold 
— The rush to the Fitzroy River — Great distress at the 
diggings — The Gympie goldfields — Mount Morgan — Culti- 
vation in the Northern districts — Island labour — The evils 
of the traffic — The Polynesian Labourers Act — Material 
progress — Separation of the Northern district — The public 




From the First Settlement to the Recall of 

Governor Fitzroy. i 791-1846 . . -351 

The whaling ships in New Zealand waters — The Boyd 
massacre — The establishment of a mission at the Bay of 
Islands — New Zealand is made a dependency of New South 
Wales — Maori customs and character — Tapu — Hongi visits 
England — The arrival of Captain Herd — Hongi's wars — A 
Government Resident is appointed — Baron de Thierry's 
proclamation — "The United Tribes of New Zealand" — 
Captain Hobson at the Bay of Islands — The provisional 
Government at Kororareka — Schemes for colonisation — The 
New Zealand Company — Land troubles — Captain Hobson is 
appointed Lieutenant-Governor — The Treaty of Waitangi — 
A French Colonisation Company — New Zealand is proclaimed 
an independent colony — The outbreak at the Wairau Valley — 
The Land Question — The war with Hone Heke — Trouble at 
Port Nicholson — Recall of Fitzroy. 

Events from 1846 to 1861 . . . . . 369 

Gloomy prospects — Grey commences operations against the 
Maoris — The defeat of Heke— War in the Hutt Valley— The 
imprisonment of Ruaparaha — Measures of reform — Grey 
makes enemies — The war in the Wanganui district — The 
Maoris sue for peace — Grey at Taranaki — The agitation for 
Representative Government — The New Zealand Government 
Bill — Grey recommends the suppression of the Act — Great 
revival of immigration — Material progress — The effect of the 
gold discoveries — The New Zealand Company is dissolved — 
Local Government — The Constitution of 1852 — Grey leaves 
the Colony — A Constitutional anomaly — The appointment of 
Colonel Gore Browne — The Taranaki difticultics — The King 




The End of the Maori Wars. 1861-1871 . 393 

Proclamation to the Waikatos — Petition by Maori chiefs — 
Reappointment of Sir George Grey — Making of roads through 
Hunua Forest^Reforms in the North Island — Maori distrust 
of the Government — Meeting of Grey and Maori chiefs — 
Rupture between Grey and General Cameron — War in Tara- 
naki — Defeat of Maoris — Twenty thousand men available — 
Confiscation of land — Attack on Rangiriri— Prisoners on 
Island of Kawan — Great loss of the Maoris — Hauhauism — 
Peace declared — Resignation of the Ministry — Resignation of 
General Cameron — Recall of Grey— Native Land Courts-- 
Te Kooti — Colonel McDonnell — End of the war — Arrest of 
Te Whiti. 

Under the Constitution, i 854-1 893 . . 408 

Increase of population — Finding of gold — The electoral sys- 
tem — Provincial Councils — Seat of Government — Loans and 
debentures — Effects of borrowed money — Sir George Grey 
first Premier — Steady progress — Frozen mutton— Railway 
construction — Prosperity — Scenery and climate. 

Work and Wages. 1788-1892 .... 415 

Assigned servants — The Governor fixes wages — Early hard- 
ships — Increase of manufactories — Free immigration — Con- 
dition of wage-earners — The Commercial Oisis of 1843 — 
Effect of the discovery of gold — A fall in wages — The Eight- 
hours' Day — The Labour Unions — Chinese competition — 
Anti-Chinese legislation — The future of the labour organisa- 
tions — The Parliamentary Labour Party — Relations of em- 
ployers and employed. 




Federation. 1847-1893 ..... 42S 

The suggestions of Earl Grey — The Report of the Privy 
Council — Wentworth's proposals — The Select Committee on 
Federation in New South Wales and Victoria — The Customs 
compact — The Conference of 1881 — The Conference of 18S3 
— The Federal Council Act — The Australasian Naval Force 
Act of 1SS7 — The Conference of 1890 — The National Austra- 
lasian Convention. 

Appendix . . . . . . . -437 

Table showing the population and relative importance of each 
of the Seven Colonies of Australasia at the commencement of 





CAPTAIN COOK ..... Fro7itispiece 





















ADELAIDE ........ 308 


station) . 317 

map of queensland . . . . . -331 

brisbane ........ 335 

map of new zealand , . . . . -352 

a maori chief ........ 354 

milford sound ....... 357 

a maori dwelling ...... 374 

the waikato river ...... 383 

RANGIRIRI. (from THE WAIKATO) .... 388 





WAGES SINCE 1841 . . . . . .421 

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(I 503-1772.) 

It is not easy for any one knowing the great 
natural wealth of Australia to realise the bitter dis- 
appointment which must have been felt by those 
venturesome navigators who first sighted the shores 
of that continent. The minds of all men were full of 
the marvellous discoveries of Marco Polo in the East, 
and of Columbus and Cabot across the Atlantic, and 
the motive was no longer the discovery of a route 
to the Indies by which the treasures of the East might 
be carried by sea to Europe, but each explorer was am- 
bitious to rival a Cortes or Pizarro, and hoped in the 
Pacific to find countries as rich and as populous as 
those annexed by Spain in America. But instead of 
wealth and barbaric splendour, an old civilisation and 
magnificent cities, such as those of Mexico and Peru, 
they discovered the most dreary and uninviting 



coasts, with few harbours or rivers and peopled by 
a wild and degraded race, showing a bitter hostility 
to the visitors. 

It is difficult to determine who was really the first 
European to discover Australia. There are several 
candidates for the honour, but the validity of the 
claims is, in many cases, more than doubtful. It is 
quite possible that long before the more or less sys- 
tematic exploration of the Australian seaboard the 
Malays, or perhaps Europeans bound to or from 
Eastern ports, may have sighted parts of the coast ; 
but such glimpses did not invite a closer inspection. 
The object sought was a rich trading station and not 
a land fit for European colonisation, and consequently 
Australia, being out of the ordinary track of the mer- 
chant ships and offering no harvest of spices, for the 
acquisition of which all the world was mad, attracted 
but little attention ; indeed, but for the fair prospect 
of finding spice-producing lands in these latitudes, the 
mysterious slumber which for so many centuries 
enveloped Australasia would have continued still 

In 1503 a Frenchman, named De Gonneville, after 
rounding the Cape of Good Hope, is said to have 
been driven by contrary winds to an unknown shore, 
but the evidence goes to support the contention that 
Madagascar, and not Australia, was the land visited. 
Various claims to the discovery of Australia by the 
Portuguese previous to 1606 receive some support, but 
there is every reason to suppose that the Duyfhen 
from Bantam was the first vessel which bore 
Europeans over Australian waters. The voyage of 


the Dutch was cut short by want of provisions, and 
after coasting some little way along the eastern shore 
of the Gulf of Carpentaria they were compelled to 
return. The land they described as " for the greatest 
part desert, but in some places inhabited by wild, 
cruel, black savages, by whom some of the crew were 
murdered." For ten years no new explorations were 
made, but in 1616 Dirk Hartog, another Dutchman, 
sailed down the west coast, being followed in two years 
by the Mauritiits and a little later by the Leeuwin. 
The accounts given by the commanders of these 
vessels were most unfavourable, but the Dutch East 
India Company was not yet satisfied, and in 1623 the 
Pera and ArnJicni were despatched. This expedition 
was as fruitless as those that preceded it. Not long 
after making the Australian coast Jan Carstens, 
captain of the Artihcm, and eight of his crew were 
murdered by the natives, and the Pera, although she 
sailed far round the north coast, carried back a report 
that " shallow waters and barren coasts were every- 
where found, with islands altogether thinly peopled 
by divers cruel, poor and brutal nations, and of very 
little use" to the Company. So far exploration had 
been confined entirely to the west and north coasts, 
but in 1627 Pieter Nuyts, in the Guide Zeepard, 
examined the south shore for some hundreds of miles. 
He was scarcely more favourably impressed than the 
others. That it was " a foul and barren shore " was 
all he could say for the country. 

The next event of any importance in the story of 
Australian exploration is full of dramatic interest. The 
Bdtavia, commanded by Francis Pelsart, meeting with 


heavy weather, was separated from her companions, 
and in a storm was driven on the reef called " Hout- 
man's Abrolhos " on the west coast. The ship before 
long commenced to break up, so it was determined 
to abandon her and seek refuge on three adjacent 
islands. The landing was effected safely, but to the 
consternation of all no fresh water was to be found, 
and Pelsart at last set out in one of the boats to seek 
it on the mainland. Here he was also unsuccessful, 
and therefore determined to steer for Batavia for assist- 
ance. Soon after his departure some of the ship- 
wrecked crew mutinied, and, under the leadership of 
the supercargo, committed the most ghastly atrocities. 
Another party, however, were able to repulse the at- 
tack of the mutineers, and after several conflicts, in one 
of which the supercargo was captured, the two com- 
panies waited for the return of Pelsart. The intention of 
the murderers appears to have been to seize his ship on 
its arrival and start on a piratical cruise, and when 
before long, the Sardain, with Pelsart on board, was 
sighted, the mutineers put off to board her. They had 
dressed themselves in striking costumes made from the 
despoiled cargo of the Batavia^ and their peculiar 
appearance aroused Pelsart's suspicions and put him 
on his guard. By threatening to fire on their small 
boat he compelled them to lay down their arms, and 
then, having learnt the state of affairs, all but two 
were summarily hanged. These two underwent, if 
anything, a worse fate, for they were put on shore on 
the mainland, and the agony they must have suffered 
as they watched the ship slowly vanishing from sight, 
leaving them to their fate amongst those " wild, cruel, 


black savages" was a just retribution for their 

Another tragedy, similar to that in which Carstens 
lost his life, was enacted in 1636, when Poole visited 
New Guinea, and, although the supercargo took charge 
of the ship and continued the voyage, no new dis- 
coveries were made. 

From this time the records of Australian exploration 
are more satisfactory. In 1637 Antony van Dieman, 
a man imbued with strong ambitions in the field 
of enterprise and discovery, received from the Dutch 
the Governorship of Java. He lost but little time in 
despatching an expedition in search of the Southern 
Continent, and in 1642 Abel Janz Tasman, with 
Gerrit Jansen, set sail in the ships Heemskirk and 
ZeeJtaan. Tasman first steered for Mauritius, which 
was then a Dutch possession, and after a brief stay 
pursued his travels, sailing in an easterly direction in 
search of the " Great South Land." On the 24th of 
November Point Hibbs, a limestone promontory on 
the West Coast of Tasmania, appeared above the 
horizon, and before sunset lofty mountains gradually 
shaped themselves in the distance, and confirmed 
Tasman's opinion that he had at last touched a 
portion of the territory of which he was in search. 
Having doubled the southern extremity of the island, 
a course was steered close along the shore, and a week 
after first sighting land the Heemskirk and Zeehaan 
dropped anchor in Marion Bay. Boats were lowered 
and parties sent ashore, but although signs of the 
presence of natives were found, no human beings were 
seen. Two days later the carpenter of the Heemskirk 


swam ashore and erected a post on which a compass 
was carved and the prince's flag hoisted, and the 
wanderers weighed anchor, and saiHng along the east 
coast again lost sight of land in the unknown seas. 
On the 8th of the same month the look-out reported 
land which proved to be the south island of New 
Zealand. The ships anchored in a little bay, but the 
natives surrounded them in their canoes and three of 
Tasman's crew were murdered. On his return to 
Batavia the voyage was considered to have been so 
successful that in 1644 the same commander was 
again despatched with the Limmen, Zeemew., and De 
Brak, and on this occasion he explored the west 
coasts of the Gulf of Carpentaria. 

The next explorer of any importance was William 
Dampier, who, in command of the Bachelor's Delight 
and Cygnet, with a crew of buccaneers, examined 
the west coast from Shark Bay to Dampier's Archi- 
pelago. His report of the country on his return 
to England was not favourable, but, as he was in 
imminent peril of being marooned on the unknown 
land by his unruly crew, an unbiassed account could 
hardly be expected. 

In 1696 William de Vlaming while cruising on the 
west coast discovered and named the Swan River, 
and three years later Dampier again visited Australia 
in the Roebuck, and made further explorations on the 
North-west. On his return he wrote an interesting 
account of his travels, but he had little to say in 
favour of either the country or its people ; the one 
was sterile and almost devoid of animals, while the 
other were hideous and filthy. For the next seventy 


years little was done in the way of Australian 
exploration, although the Dutch sent out one more 
expedition in 1705, under Martin van Delft. However, 
in 1768 Captain James Cook started on the famous 
voyage, with which really began the interest of 
Englishmen in the lands of the South Pacific. 
Cook's expedition originated with the Royal Society, 
which was anxious that some capable person should 
observe the transit of Venus over the sun's disc from 
the South Seas. A suggestion to this effect was 
favourably received by George III., and a small vessel 
under the command of Cook, who had already dis- 
tinguished himself in Canada and in survey work off 
the coast of Newfoundland, was fitted out by the 
Government. The Endeavour, the ship specially 
selected by Cook for this service, had been built for 
a collier. She was a little barque of 370 tons, of 
small draught, but great carrying capacity, and very 
strong construction. A scientific staff was appointed 
to carry out the observations, Mr. Green acting as 
astronomer and Sir Joseph Banks and Dr. Solander 
occupying the position of botanists ; and on the 26th 
of August, 1768, the necessary instruments and pro- 
visions having been taken on board, the Endeavour 
weighed anchor and sailed out of Plymouth Sound. 
After a quick passage the wanderers arrived at 
Tahiti, where they at once erected a temporary 
observatory, guarded by a little fort, and on the 3rd 
of June the transit of the planet was most success- 
fully observed. But although the main object of 
the expedition had now been accomplished, it was 
determined to search for the great Southern Con- 


tinent before returning to England. Cook therefore 
steered south on leaving Tahiti, and after passing the 
Society Islands held his course till land was sighted 
from the masthead and a chain of mountains rose on 
the misty horizon. On the 8th of October, 1769, the 
Endeavour' s anchor was dropped in the Bay of 
Tauranga, New Zealand, and attempts were at once 
made to open communication with the natives, but 
without success. Disgusted with the hostility and 
distrust of the Maories, Cook sailed along the coast 
to the southward, charting carefully as he went, until, 
on reaching Mercury Bay, the scientific men again 
landed to take observations of the transit of Mercury, 
while Cook seized the opportunity of leaving a record 
of his visit on a tree. Hoisting the English flag, he 
took possession of the country in the name of King 
George. From Mercury Bay he sailed along the 
coast passing Tolaga Bay, Hauraki Gulf and the Bay 
of Islands, and then, doubling Cape Maria Van 
Diemen, shaped his course close to the western shore 
of the North Island. At Queen Charlotte's Sound 
another stop was made, and more flagstaffs were 
erected, then again sail was set and Cook passed 
through the straits and, turning South Cape, com- 
pleted the circumnavigation of the islands. On 
jreaching Cape Farewell he steered for the open sea, 
and, following a westerly course, after three weeks 
came in sight of the Australian coast at Cape Howe. 
Turning north-east the coastline was traced, names 
being given to Mount Dromedary, the Pigeon House, 
Point Upright, and Cape St. George, till Botany Bay 
was reached, and here anchor was cast, As the ship 


brought to near the shore a group of natives was 
perceived apparently cooking by a fire ; but, to the 
surprise of Cook and his comrades, they paid no 
attention whatever to the ship, continuing quietly at 
their occupation. Even the clank and rattle of the 
cable as it ran out of the hawse-pipe had no effect, 
and it was not till boats were lowered and turned 
towards the beach that the natives showed any signs 
of being aware of the presence of intruders. As soon 
as the boat headed for the land, however, two men 
sprang to their feet and, coming down to the rocks, 
stood brandishing their rude weapons and, with 
wild gesticulations, warned Cook's party to keep off 
A musket was fired between them, which induced one 
of the natives for a moment to drop his spears, which 
however he immediately recovered ; and, even when a 
charge of small shot was fired into the legs of another 
in return for a stone which he had thrown at the boat, 
the two warriors ran back into the bush for a moment 
and then reappeared with bark shields. For some time 
the Ejideavoiir remained in the bay, and her captain, 
with Banks and Solander, made many excursions into 
the country, during which the two last obtained such 
a great variety of flowers and plants that the place 
was called Botany Bay. Although anxious to have 
friendly intercourse with the natives, all attempts 
failed, and, after hoisting the British flag and formally 
taking possession in the king's name of the country, 
which he called New South Wales, Cook sailed out 
between the heads to continue the exploration of the 
coast. The entrances to Port Jackson and Broken 
Bay were marked on the chart, but the Endeavour 


did not again jdrop anchor until Moreton Bay had 
been reached. Only a brief stay was made there 
before the voyage northward was resumed, the ship 
being kept as close to the shore as was deemed 
safe, and the principal features of the coast care- 
fully noted. After about thirteen hundred miles had 
been traversed in this way, the first serious mishap 
was met with ; about eleven o'clock one night the 
water suddenly began to shoal and before soundings 
could be taken the ship struck heavily on a sunken 
rock, and the water almost immediately rose in the hold 
so rapidly that the pumps could hardly keep it under. 
The guns and all heavy gear were jettisoned, but still 
the Endeavour bumped and scraped on the reef. At 
last she was floated off, but in such a leaky condition,, 
that there was every prospect of her foundering. No 
land was in sight and the outlook was most gloomy 
when, as a last resource, some canvas was passed; 
under the vessel over the injured spot and the inflow; 
of water thus greatly reduced. After sailing some 
distance in this crippled state land was sighted and 
the mouth of a little river entered, where the ship 
was careened and examined. The rent in her bottom, 
was more extensive than had been supposed, and, but 
for the fact that the spike of coral which had pierced, 
her had been broken off and remained plugging the 
hole, no possible device could have prevented heri 
from sinking. Jn commemoration of the adventure- 
Cook named the headland he had first sighted Cape, 
Tribulation, and the river after his little barque. 
When two months had been spent in thoroughly 
repairing the Endeavotir, the voyage was continued 


and the coast charted as far as Cape York, whence 
Cook sailed through Torres Straits to England. 

The second and third voyages nnade by the great 
explorer were full of interest, but there is not space 
to follow them in detail here. It will suffice to say 
that the reports carried to England were so favourable 
that during the next few years Cook, with the 
Resolution, Discovery, and Adventure, visited Tas- 
' mania and New Zealand ; but the determination to 
occupy Australian territory sprang from the impres- 
sions left in the mind of Banks by his short sojourn 
in Botany Bay. Between the arrival of Phillip's fleet 
to found a settlement and Cook's departure others 
sailed in Australian waters, and one of the expedi- 
tions was marred by a fatal affray with the natives. 
In 1772 the French navigator, Marion du Frcsne, 
anchored his ships, the Mascarin and the Castries, in 
Marion Bay, Tasmania, and an attempt to com- 
municate with the aborigines led to a fight. Soon 
afterwards, having sailed to New Zealand, the luckless 
Frenchman was murdered with twenty-seven of his 
crew in a quarrel with the Maories at the Bay of 
Islands. Another Frenchman, De Surville had been 
cruising in New Zealand v/aters at the same time as 
Cook in 1769, though little was added to the knowledge 
of the Great South Land by either of the French 



Although the report carried back by Cook and 
Banks was in many respects most favourable, a 
considerable period elapsed before any definite 
proposals were made to utilise their discoveries. 
Important and difficult matters nearer home absorbed 
the attention of the Government and, until a com- 
bination of circumstances made it absolutely im- 
perative that some new field for the transportation 
of criminals should be found, the eyes of statesmen 
were not seriously turned towards the distant southern 

The action of Lord North's Government in insisting 
on the tea duties had produced an insurrection in the 
American Colonies in 1775, which in the following 
year developed into the memorable "War of Inde- 
pendence and finally severed the bond between the 
States and the Mother Country. The American 
plantations were for ever closed as a destination for 
British criminals, and, as a result, the gaols quickly 
filled to overflowing, and abuses grew with corre- 
sponding rapidity. So serious was the aspect of 

matra's proposal. 13 

affairs that an effective method of disposing of 
convicts became a matter of the first public im- 
portance, and numerous proposals, more or less 
feasible, were continually being put forward. 

The deplorable condition of those of the American 
colonists, who had not taken up arms against England, 
was also attracting the attention of many, till at 
last the desire to induce the Government to provide 
some haven for the people who had lost all in the 
support of the king's cause across the Atlantic, led 
James Maria Matra to formulate " a proposal for 
establishing a settlement in New South Wales." 

The proposal was addressed to the Government 
in August, 1783, the year in which England so re- 
luctantly recognised as Sovereign States what had once 
been her colonies. Mr. Matra, after mentioning the 
loss of America, dwelt on the " enticing allurements 
to European adventurers " held out by some of the 
newly discovered countries, and more especially New 
South Wales. He quoted Cook's favourable im- 
pressions, and drew a sketch of the capabilities of 
the new country from a strategical, commercial, and 
agricultural point of view. Special stress was laid 
on the character of the soil and climate as especially 
suitable for the cultivation of spices — that peculiarly 
tempting bait for the mercantile enterprise of the 
time — and the New Zealand flax, on specimens of 
which, brought home by Banks, such encomiums had 
been passed; "this country," continued Mr. Matra, 
" may afford an asylum to those unfortunate Ameri- 
can loyalists, whom Great Britain is bound by every tie 
of honour and gratitude to protect and support where 

14 " THE FIRST FLEET," 1788. 

they may repair their broken fortunes and again 
enjoy their former domestic feHcity." 

After further description of the benefits likely to 
accrue to the Mother Country from the occupation 
of New South Wales, he closed his paper with some 
remarks on the policy of emigration. Mr. Matra's 
scheme attracted some notice ; but apparently the 
Government had not as strong a sense of their obli- 
gation to the American loyalists as he had supposed, 
and the Ministry went out of office in December 
without takinp- any definite action in the matter. 
Lord Sydney, who succeeded at the Home Office, 
saw, however, in Mr. Matra's proposal a solution of 
the then most pressing difficulty. Why should not 
this distant land be a " very proper region for the 
reception of criminals condemned to transportation" } 
Mr. Matra jumped at this idea, in. which he con- 
sidered " good policy and humanity are united.*^ The 
attempts to form a penal settlement in Africb' had 
failed. The mortality amongst the convicts was 
enormous, and the expense very heavy. Popular 
sentiment on the question of penal treatment was 
also undergoing change, and the theory that the 
reformation of criminals should be regarded as much 
as their punishment was gaining ground. In a 
country in which convicts would be some twelve 
thousand miles away from their old associations, an 
experiment in reformation surely might be tried 
without danger and with some chance of success. 
Lord Howe, then First Lord of the Admiralty, 
threw cold water on Matra's plan ; but Sir John 
Young, another naval authority, took the matter dp. 


and slightly modifying some of Matra's proposals 
and elaborating others, submitted to the authorities 
" k rough outline of the many advantages that may 
result to this nation from a settlement made on the 
coast of New.South Wales." The American loyalists 
were not forgotten by him ; but perhaps the greatest 
inducement held out for the establishment of the 
colony was that " here was an asylum in which felons 
-could be cheaply kept, and from which there would 
be no possibility of their returning." 

A feeling of jealous apprehension existed at this 
time that the French contemplated forming settle- 
ments in the far Pacific, and this doubtless led Lord 
Sydney to accept more readily the scheme for colo- 
nising the distant territory. In August, 1786, the 
following paper was forwarded to the Lords of the 
Admiralty, with a request that the necessary arrange- 
ments ^or transport and victualling be made with the 
utmos despatch : 

" Heads of a plan for effectually disposing of 
convicts, and rendering their transportation re- 
ciprocally beneficial, both to themselves and to the 
State, by the establishment of a colony in New South 
Wales, a country which, by the fertility and salubrity 
of the climate, connected with the remoteness of its 
situation (from whence it is hardly possible for 
persons to return without permission), seems pecu- 
liarly adapted to answer the views of Government 
with respect to the providing a remedy for' the evils 
likely to result from the late alarming and numerous 
increase of felons in this country, and more par- 
ticularly in the metropolis. 

l6 ** THE FIRST FLEETy" 1788. 

" It is proposed that a ship of war of a proper 
class, with a part of her guns mounted, and a sufficient 
number of men on board for her navigation, and a 
tender of about 200 tons burthen, commanded by 
discreet officers, should be got ready as soon as 
possible to serve as an escort to the convict ships, and 
for other purposes hereinafter mentioned. 

" That in addition to their crews, they should take 
on board two companies of marines to form a military 
establishment on shore (not only for the protection 
of the settlement, if requisite, against the natives, 
but for the preservation of good order), together with 
an assortment of stores, utensils, and implements, 
necessary for erecting habitations and for agriculture, 
and such quantities of provisions as may be proper 
for the use of the crews. As many marines as pos- 
sible should be artificers, such as carpenters, sawyers, 
smiths, potters (if possible), and some husbandmen. 
To have a chaplain on board, with a surgeon, and one 
mate at least ; the former to remain at the settlement. 

" That these vessels should touch at the Cape of 
Good Hope, or any other place that may be con- 
venient, for any seed that may be requisite to be taken 
thence, and for such live stock as they can possibly 
contain, which, it is supposed, can be procured there 
without any difficulty, and at the most reasonable 
rates, for the use of the settlement at large. 

" That Government should immediately provide 
a certain number of ships of a proper burthen to 
receive on board at least seven or eight hundred 
convicts, and that one of them should be properly 
fitted for the accommodation of the women. 


" That these ships should take on board as much 
provisions as they can possibly stow, or at least a 
sufificient quantity for two years' consumption ; sup- 
posing one year to be issued at whole allowance, and 
the other year's provisions at half allowance, which 
will last two years longer, by which time, it is pre- 
sumed the colony, with the live stock and grain 
which may be raised by a common industry on the 
part of the new settlers, will be fully sufficient for 
their maintenance and support. 

" That, in addition to the crews of the ships 
appointed to contain the convicts, a company of 
marines should be divided between them, to be em- 
ployed as guards for preventing ill consequences that 
might arise from dissatisfaction amongst the convicts, 
and for the protection of the crew in the navigation 
of the ship from insults that might be offered by the 

" That each ship should have on board at least 
two surgeons' mates to attend to the wants of the 
sick, and should be supplied with a proper assortment 
of medicines and instruments, and that two of them 
should remain with the settlement. 

" After the arrival of the ships which are intended 
to convey the convicts, the ship of war and tender 
may be employed in obtaining live stock from the 
Cape, or from the Molucca Islands, a sufficient 
quantity of which may be brought from either of 
those places to the new settlement in two or three 
trips ; or the tender, if it should be thought most 
advisable, may be employed in conveying to the new 
settlement a further number of women from the 


l8 "THE FIRST FLEET,'* 1788. 

Friendly Islands, New Caledonia, &c., which are 
contiguous thereto, and from whence any number 
may be procured without difficulty. 

" The whole regulation and management of the 
settlement should be committed to the care of a 
discreet officer, and provision should be made in all 
cases, both civil and military, by special instructions 
under the Great Seal or otherwise, as may be thought 

" Upon the whole, it may be observed with great 
force and truth that the difference of expense (what- 
ever method of carrying the convicts thither may be 
adopted), and this mode of disposing of them and 
that of the usual ineffectual one is too trivial to be 
a consideration with Government, at least in com- 
parison with the great object to be obtained by 
it especially now the evil is increased to such an 
alarming degree, from the inadequacy of all other 
expedients that have hitherto been tried or suggested. 
" It may not be amiss to remark in favour of this 
plan that considerable advantage will arise from the 
cultivation of the New Zealand hemp or flax-plant 
in the new intended settlement, the supply of which 
would be of great consequence to us as a naval 
power, as our manufacturers are of opinion that 
canvas made of it would be superior in strength and 
beauty to any canvas made of the European material, 
and that a cable of the circumference of ten inches 
made from the former would be superior in strength 
to one of eighteen inches made of the latter. The 
threads or filaments of this New Zealand plant are 
formed by nature with the most exquisite delicacy, 


and may be so minutely divided as to be manu- 
factured into the finest linens. 

" Most of the Asiatic productions may also, without 
doubt, be cultivated in the new settlement, and in a 
few years may render our recourse to our European 
neighbours for those productions unnecessary. 

" It may also be proper to attend to the possibility 
of procuring from New Zealand any quantity of masts 
and ship timber for the use of our fleets in India, as 
the distance between the two countries is not greater 
than between Great Britain and America. It grows 
close to the water's edge, is of size and quality 
superior to any hitherto known, and may be ob- 
tained without difficulty." 

It is no difficult matter to draft a scheme for a 
settlement in an unknown country, but the elabora- 
tion of the details and the inception of the work can 
only be done by a man of unusual ability. Fortunately 
for Lord Sydney he knew of a man capable of the 
extraordinary service required, and had sufficient 
confidence to appoint him Governor of the new 
colony, in spite of the scarcely veiled disapproval 
of the Admiralty. Captain Arthur Phillip, the 
officer selected, had entered the navy at the age 
of sixteen, and, after serving in the Seven Years' War 
as a midshipman, had been made a lieutenant on the 
capture of Havannah. At the close of hostilities 
he married and settled down to the life of a country 
gentleman, until war breaking out between Portugal 
and Spain, he hastened to seek distinction in the 
service of the first-named nation. In 1778 he returned 
to England to take his part in the operations against 


Captain General and Coniinander-iii-Chief in and over the Territory 
of Neiv SoiUh ]Vales. 


France, and in September of the following year was 
made master and commander of the Basilisk. Two 
years later he was promoted to the rank of post- 
captain, being entrusted first with the Ariadne and 
then with the Europe. He must have had oppor- 
tunities during this period of showing that he pos- 
sessed exceptional energy and sound judgment ; 
for, had not Lord Sydney been fully impressed with 
his ability, he would hardly have so unhesitatingly 
selected him as the most fitting person for a service of 
so complicated a nature on which so much depended. 

Phillip was no sooner appointed Governor of the 
proposed settlement than he began to take a very 
active part in the preparations for the expedition. 
He soon saw that the arrangements made by the sub- 
ordinate officials of the Admiralty were in almost every 
branch lamentably incomplete and unsatisfactory, 
and, had it not been for his watchful care and fore- 
thought, and the persistency with which he urged the 
necessity of supplying different rations and additional 
accommodation both for convicts and guards, it would 
have been impossible for the fleet to have reached its 
destination without terrible loss of life and indescrib- 
able suffering amongst those on board. 

Phillip's keen appreciation, even at this early stage, 
of all the dangers to be expected on the voyage, and 
the administrative difficulties to be provided for and 
avoided on arriving at his destination, mark him out 
as a man of great capacity as well as the possessor 
of genuine humane sympathy. His idea of the proper 
mode of procedure is shown in a memorandum written 
soon after his appointment. He urged strongly the 

22 "the FIBST fleet,'' 1788. 

advisability of sending some ship with mechanics 
and others ahead of the transports to make pre- 
parations for the convicts : " By arriving at the settle- 
ment two or three months before the transports, 
many and very great advantages would be gained. 
Huts would be ready to receive the convicts who are 
sick, and they would find vegetables, of which it may 
naturally be supposed they will stand in great need, as 
the scurvy must make a great ravage amongst people 
naturally indolent and not cleanly. Huts would be 
ready for the women ; the stores would be properly 
lodged and defended from the convicts, in such 
manner as to prevent their making any attempt on 
them. The cattle and stock would be likewise 
properly secured, and the ground marked out for 
the convicts ; for lists of those intended to be sent 
being given to the commanding officers, mentioning 
their age, crimes, trades, and character, they might be 
so divided as to render few changes necessary, and 
the provisions would be ready for issuing without 
any waste. But if convicts, provisions, &c., must be 
landed a few days after the ship's arrival, and con- 
sequently nearly at the same time, great incon- 
venience will arise ; and to keep the convicts more 
than a few days on board, after they get into a port, 
considering the length of time which they must 
inevitably be confined, may be attended with con- 
sequences easier to conceive than to point out in a 
letter. Add to this, fevers of a malignant kind may 
make it necessary to have a second hospital." 

" A ship's company is landed, huts raised, and the 
sick provided for in a couple of days ; but here the 

ArMngemBnTS Por the colony. 23 

greater number are convicts, in whom no confidence 
can be placed, and against whom both person and 
provisions are to be guarded. Everything necessary 
for the settlement would be received at the Cape on 
board by the commanding officer, and nothing left 
for the transports but a certain proportion of live 
stock. . . . 

" The women in general, I should suppose, possess 
neither virtue nor honesty. But there may be some 
for theft who still retain some degree of virtue, and 
these should be permitted to keep together, and strict 
orders to the master of the transport be given that 
they are not abused and insulted by the ship's com- 
pany — which is said to have been the case too often 
when they were sent to America. . . . 

" I shall think it a great point gained if I can proceed 
in this business without having any dispute with the 
natives, a few of which I shall endeavour to persuade 
to settle near us, whom I mean to furnish with 
everything that can tend to civilise them, and to give 
them a high opinion of their new guests ; for which 
purpose it will be necessary to prevent the transports' 
crews from having any intercourse with the natives, 
if possible. The convicts must have none, for if they 
have, the arms of the natives will be very formidable 
in their hands, . . . 

" Rewarding and punishing must be left to the 
Governor ; he will likely be answerable for his 
conduct, and death, I should think, will never be 
necessary. In fact, I doubt if the fear of death ever 
prevented a man of no principle from committing a 
bad action There are two crimes that would merit 

24 'THE FIRST FLEET,'' 1788. 

death ; for either of these crimes I should wish to 
confine the criminal till an opportunity offered of 
delivering him as a prisoner to the natives of New 
Zealand and let them eat him. The dread of this will 
operate much stronger than the fear of death. . . . 

" Women may be brought from the Friendly and 
other islands, a proper place prepared to receive 
them, and where they will be supported for a time 
and lots of land assigned to such as marry with 
the soldiers of the garrison. 

" As I would not wish convicts to lay the foundations 
of an empire, I think they should ever remain separate 
from the garrison and other settlers that may come 
from Europe, and not be allowed to mix with them, 
even after the seven or fourteen years for which they 
are transported may be expired. 

" The laws of this country will, of course, be intro- 
duced in New South Wales, and there is one I would 
wish to take place from the moment His Majesty's 
forces take possession of the country — that there be 
no slavery in a free land, and consequently no slaves." 

In addition to the general organisation Phillip had 
to attend to the most minute details. Numerous com- 
munications passed between him and various officials 
with regard to the quantity and quality of articles 
provided as rations, the necessity of overseers to look 
after the convicts, the filthy condition in which the 
women were sent on board the ships, the insufficient 
number of scythes and razors supplied, the lack of 
drugs and surgical instruments, the insecurity of the 
hatches in the transports, the supply of grog for the 
soldiers, clothing for the women, and the terrible over- 


crowding on board some of the vessels. In addition to 
the innumerable details which required attention, in- 
structions to guide his action in a hundred imaginary 
emergencies were necessary. Letter after letter had 
to be written before abuses were remedied or instruc- 
tions received, while many matters which Phillip 
deemed essential to the health and safety of his 
charges were never attended to at all in spite of 
his frequent remonstrances. At last Phillip's patience 
seems to have almost given way, and in March he 
wrote as follows to Lord Sydney: "As the Navy 
Board have informed me that no alteration can 
be made respecting the victualling of the marines 
during the passage, it is to prevent my character 
as an officer from being called in question, should 
the consequences I fear be realised, that I once more 
trouble your lordship on this subject. ... I see the 
critical situation I may be in after losing part of the 
garrison, that is at present very weak, when the 
service for which it is intended is considered; but I 
am prepared to meet difficulties, and I have onlj^ 
one fear. I fear, my lord, that it may be said here- 
after, the officer who took charge of the expedition 
should have known that it was more than probable 
he lost half the garrison and convicts crowded and 
victualled in such a manner for so long a voyage. 
And the public, believing it rested with me, may 
impute to my ignorance or inattention what I have 
never been consulted in, and which never coincided 
with my ideas, to avoid which is the purport of this 
letter ; and I flatter myself your lordship will here- 
after point out the situation in which I have stood 

26 "the first fleet,** 1788. 

through the whole of this business, should it ever be 
necessary." Again, a little later, after a still more 
emphatic protest to the Under-Secretary, he wrote, 
"These complaints, my dear sir, do not come unex- 
pected, nor were they unavoidable. I foresaw them 
from the beginning, and repeatedly pointed them out, 
when they might have been so easily prevented at 
a very small expense, and with little trouble to 
those who have had the conducting of this business. 
At present the evils complained of may be re- 
dressed, and the intentions of Government by this 
expedition answered. But if now neglected it may 
be too late hereafter, and we may expect to see the 
seamen belonging to the transports run from the 
ships to avoid a jail distemper, and may be refused 
entrance into a foreign port." At last the arrange- 
ments were as complete as they appeared likely ever 
to be, and on the nth of May Phillip sat down in his 
cabin in the H.M.S. Sirhis, then lying off the Mother- 
bank, to pen a few last lines to Nepean, the Under- 
Secretary. To a man of Phillip's temperament the 
feeling that he was on the eve of a great enterprise 
was fully present, and in the concluding lines of this 
letter a glimpse is given of some of his dreams of the 
future. " Once more," he wrote, " I take my leave of 
you, fully sensible of the trouble you have had in this 
business, for which at present I can only thank you ; 
but at a future period, when this country feels the 
advantages that are to be drawn from our intended 
settlement, you will enjoy a satisfaction that will, I 
am sure, make you ample amends." In these 
moments of comparative rest when he had done all 

"the first pleet^^ sets sail. 27 

that lay in his power to ensure the success of the 
expedition, the consciousness that he was destined to 
found a great nation and not simply a distant gaol is 
again apparent. On the 13th of May the little fleet 
weighed anchor and started down Channel. It con- 
sisted of the vessels contained in the table on p. 28. 
These with the Siritis and Supply made up the fleet. 
On the first-named there were a few marines and the 
governor belonging to the establishment, in addition 
to her own complement. H.M.S. Hycsna, a frigate, 
accompanied them some way, returning with a final 
despatch from Phillip when they were well clear of the 
narrow waters. All was then going well, but the 
Provost-Marshal and the women's clothing had been 
left behind, and the Charlotte and Lady Penrhyu 
sailed very badly. A conspiracy amongst the 
convicts on the Scarborough had been discovered and 
promptly suppressed, and to use Phillip's words, " the 
clearing the Channel is one great point gained, and 
with which I looked upon all our difficulty as ended," 
The ships reached Santa Cruz, Teneriffe, on the 3rd 
of June and here Phillip held his first inspection of the 
convicts. " I saw them all yesterday for the first 
time," he writes, " they are quiet and contented, 
though there are among them some complete villains." 
A plentiful supply of fresh provisions was taken in, 
and without delay sail made for Rio de Janiero, where 
they arrived on the 5th of August. Phillip must have 
suffered some anxiety concerning his reception at 
Rio, for fresh provisions were very necessary in order 
to preserve the health of his charges, and any 
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would have produced serious results. All apprehen- 
sions were, however, soon set at rest and the Portu- 
guese showed their visitors every civility, while the 
Viceroy treated Phillip and his officers with extra- 
ordinary attention and honour. A supply of fresh 
food was obtained and a considerable quantity of 
spirits purchased ; indeed, rum rose 25 per cent, in 
price owing to the unusual demand. Here also 
Phillip seized the opportunity of remedying a remark- 
able omission in the preparations for the expedition, 
No ammunition of any sort had been provided for the 
marines, so that, had a rising among the convicts 
occurred on the voyage to Rio, the firearms of the 
guards would have been useless ; "ten thousand 
musquet balls " were purchased from the king's stores, 
fruit-trees and plants were obtained, and on the 
4th of September the voyage was resumed. Phillip's 
knowledge of Spanish at once established most 
friendly relations with the Rio officials, and the 
success of the visit was mainly due to his tact and 
courtesy. On the arrival of the fleet at the Cape 
much trouble was at first experienced in obtaining 
permission from the Government to purchase what 
was required, and on this account another month was 
lost. Eventually all that Phillip asked was granted 
and the ships took more plants and seeds aboard and 
some live stock ; but prices were higher than was 
expected and the space available on the vessels very 
limited. On the 12th of November sail was set, and 
about a fortnight later the Governor, leaving the Sirius, 
and embarking on the Supply, made every effort to 
push on in order to select the site for the new settle- 

30 "THE FIRST FLEET," 1788. 

ment and make certain preparations for the reception 
of the stores and convicts before the arrival of the 
transports. The three fastest of the transports were 
directed to follow with all despatch and Captain 
Hunter, of the Striiis, was left in charge of the re- 
maining ships. On the 3rd of January the coast of 
New South Wales was sighted from the Supply, but 
owing to contrary winds Botany Bay was not reached 
till the 1 8th. The Alexander, Scarborough, and 
Friendship came in next day, and the Sirius with the 
rest of the ships the day after. Directly he entered 
the Bay Phillip looked about for some suitable place 
for the settlement, but he " did not see any situation 
to which there was not some very strong objection 
while the anchorage in the bay was exposed to the 
eastward, and the shores were very shallow." So 
unfavourable did the surrounding country appear to 
be that it was determined to search without delay for 
a better site " higher up the coast," but that no time 
might be lost if he did not succeed in finding a better 
harbour and a proper situation for the settlement, 
Phillip instructed the Lieutenant-Governor, Major 
Ross, " to at once proceed to clear the land and 
prepare for disembarkation." Captain Hunter and 
several officers went with Phillip on his exploring 
expedition in three boats so that the examination 
might be conducted as rapidly as possible. The relief 
and joy felt by this little band as they entered Sydney 
Heads and saw the peaceful waters of Port Jackson 
spreading before them in innumerable bays and coves 
with yellow sandy shores and rocky points may be 
easily imagined. To Phillip's eye here was a harbour 


indeed — " We got into Port Jackson early in the after- 
noon," he wrote to Lord Sydney, " and had the satis- 
faction of finding the finest harbour in the world, in 
which a thousand sail of the line may ride in the most 
perfect security." All the coves were examined in 
order to find the spot most suitable for landing, and 
one was selected " that had the best spring of water, 
and in which the ships can anchor so close to the 
shore, that at a very small expense quays may be 
made at which the largest ships may unload." On the 
third day Phillip returned to Botany Bay to find Ross 
disgusted with the country and every one depressed. 
Preparations were immediately made to go round to 
Sydney Cove, but before the start an incident oc- 
curred which created no small amount of excitement. 
The account given by Trench, an officer of marines, 
so well describes the feelings of astonishment on board 
the transports in Botany Bay when two strange sail 
suddenly appeared on the horizon, that it is worth 
quoting at length. " The thoughts of removal (from 
Botany Bay to Port Jackson) banished sleep, so that 
I rose at the first dawn of the morning. But judge of 
my surprise on hearing from a sergeant, who ran down 
almost breathless to the cabin where I was dressing, 
that a ship was seen off the harbour's mouth ! At 
first I only laughed, but knowing the man who spoke 
to me to be of great veracity, and hearing him repeat 
his information, I flew upon deck, on which I had 
barely set my foot, when the cry of ' another sail ' 
struck on my astonished ear. Confounded by a 
thousand ideas which arose in my mind in an instant, 
I sprang upon the barricade, and plainly descried two 


" THE FIRST FLEET," 1788. 

ships of considerable size standing in for the mouth 
of the bay." The two sail turned out to be the 
Boussole and Astrolabe, under La Perouse, on a 
voyage of discovery. The officers exchanged civilities, 
and La Perouse left in charge of the Englishmen, for 
transmission to Europe, the last letters and despatches 
which he wrote before his untimely death. Directly 
some of the transports came round to Sydney Cove, 
as Phillip called the spot he had chosen, a start was 
made at clearing the ground. On the 26th of January, 
1788, the British flag was unfurled at the head of the 
bay. Toasts of the King, the Royal Family, and 
success to the new Colony were honoured, volleys 
were fired by the marines, and in the evening the 
remaining ships arrived from Botany. 



The erection of stores for the provisions and 
shelter for the convicts and marines was vigorously 
pushed on. On the 7th of July all the people had 
been landed from the ships and the formal inaugu- 
ration of the colony took place. The whole of the 
little community assembled on the slope of Point 
Maskelyne, now known as Dawe's Point, and 
Phillip's commission and the other documents estab- 
lishing the Government were read by the Judge- 
Advocate. The Governor then addressed a few words 
to the convicts with regard to the future. He assured 
them that he would do all in his power to render 
those happy who led orderly lives and showed a 
disposition to amendment, but he held out no hope 
of mercy to any who continued in evil courses or 
transgressed the law or regulations of the colony. 

After the ceremony every one turned their atten- 
4 33 


tion to clearing the land and erecting dwellings ; but 
the task proved a difficult one, for the surrounding 
country was extremely rocky and heavily timbered. 

" The scene, to an indifferent spectator at leisure to 
contemplate it, would have been highly picturesque 
and amusing," wrote an eye-witness ; " in one place, 
a party cutting down the woods ; a second, setting 
up a blacksmith's forge ; a third, dragging along a 
load of stones or provisions ; here an officer pitching 
his marquee, with a detachment of troops parading 
on one side of him and a cook's fire blazing up on 
the other." Phillip had been instructed to imme- 
diately occupy Norfolk Island, so a week after the 
inauguration Lieut. Phillip Gidley King was de- 
spatched in the Stipply with fifteen men, nine of 
whom were convicts, and six convict women. 

It was most necessary that no time should be lost 
in planting the seeds and shrubs obtained at Rio and 
the Cape, since, if any misfortune were to overtake one 
of the store-ships from England, the safetyof the colony 
might before long depend on the local crops. But 
Phillip, when he tried to cultivate the land, found that 
there was no one who understood anything of garden- 
ing or farming except his own servant, and much 
of the precious seed was lost in efforts to learn by 
experience. The agricultural implements supplied 
were very inadequate, and it soon became clear that, 
if any good results were to be obtained, it could only 
be by the arrival of some free settlers skilled in 
agricultural pursuits. Even before all the stores 
were out of the ship the Governor wrote : " If fifty 
farmers were sent out with their families, they would 


do more in one year in rendering this colony inde- 
pendent of the Mother Country as to provisions than 
a thousand convicts." 

Within a month of landing, attempts to rob the 
public stores of the very limited stock of provisions 
which they contained called for prompt and severe 
treatment, and an execution took place. The ill 
success met with in farming caused the shadow of 
famine to hover over the settlement from the com- 
mencement, and the stores had to be zealously 
guarded, for in spite of every effort it seemed im- 
possible to render the colony self-supporting with 
the materials to hand, A couple of years later 
Phillip again wrote : " Experience has taught me 
how difficult it is to make men industrious who 
have passed their lives in habits of vice and indo- 
lence. In some cases it has been found impossible ; 
neither kindness nor severity have had any effect. 
There are many who dread punishment less than 
they fear labour." The discontent of the convicts 
was increased by a curious omission on the part of 
the officials in England. Phillip had been supplied 
v/ith no papers stating the dates of expiration of 
sentences, so that when men claimed to have served 
their time he could not release them without refer- 
ring home. In some cases grants of land were made 
to be confirmed if the claim proved true, while severe 
punishment was threatened in any case of imposition. 
The helplessness of Phillip's position was aggravated 
by the military, for no assistance was received from 
Major Ross, the Lieutenant-Governor, who, instead of 
aiding, used every opportunity of embarrassing Phillip 


or rendering his efforts at reform and harmony- 
nugatory. Phillip had hoped much from the moral 
influence of the military on the convicts, but he was 
bitterly disappointed. He expressed a wish soon 
after landing " that officers would, when they saw 
the convicts diligent, say a few words of encourage- 
ment to them, and that when they saw them idle 
or met them straggling in the woods they would 
threaten them with punishment ; " but he was 
promptly informed that " they declined the least 
interference with the convicts." During the whole 
of Phillip's tenure of office the military were a thorn 
in his side, and, had he not been possessed of enor- 
mous self-control, matters must, at an early stage, 
have reached a crisis which might have been fatal to 
the prospects of the colony. 

As soon as things were fairly in progress at Sydney 
Cove the Governor commenced a series of expedi- 
tions into the surrounding country, chiefly in the 
hope of finding better arable land than was to be 
got near the harbour. He first went to Broken Bay 
and Pittwater, and was much impressed with the fine 
scenery, but unfortunately, while sleeping on the wet 
ground, he contracted an illness which proved a con- 
tinual source of pain and eventually compelled him 
to return to England. 

On his second trip, taken shortly afterwards, he 
discovered Lake Narabeen, and a week later made 
his first attempt to reach the Blue Mountains. On 
the journey some good country suitable for farming- 
operations was found, but the mountains could not 
be reached owing to lack of provisions. The chief 


result of these explorations was the establishment of 
a farm at the head of the harbour, where " the soil 
was of a stiff clayey nature, free from that rock which 
everywhere covered the surface of Sydney Cove." 

Much of the seed brought in the ships had been 
heated and otherwise spoilt, and the live stock had 
also met with serious mishaps. Before long the 
Governor was filled with apprehensions in regard to 
the food supply. It was apparent that at the present 
rate of progress the colony must long be entirely 
dependent on provisions from England, and Phillip 
could not but tremble when he thought of the 
numerous dangers besetting ships sailing in the 
unexplored waters which surrounded him and the 
terrible consequences which any misfortune to a 
store-ship would entail. Ross, in whom Phillip in 
these difficulties should have found a counsellor and 
friend, soon developed into an open foe, and dis- 
played a personal animosity which entirely oblite- 
rated any sense of duty and responsibility which he 
may have originally possessed. One of his first acts 
was to endeavour to persuade the officers of the 
marines to refuse to sit on the criminal court, a duty 
imposed on them by a special Act of Parliament. 
Fortunately the subordinates had more discretion 
than their commandant, and declined to be made 
tools of his spleen against the Governor ; but, had 
this not been the case, the colony for some time 
would have been left without any means of legally 
punishing offenders — a situation the gravity of which 
is obvious in a society threatened with starvation 
and mainly composed of persons who had already 


transgressed the law. Doubtless their refusal to 
support the quibbles of Ross strained the relations 
existing between him and his subordinates, for before 
long he took the remarkable step of placing the 
whole of the members of a court-martial under arrest 
for declining to alter at his command a sentence 
inflicted by them. This action again placed Phillip 
in a difficult predicament ; for, unless he took every 
officer from his duty, it was impossible to assemble a 
court to try the case. The Governor, therefore, offered 
a court of inquiry instead of a general court-martial, 
but this the officers concerned refused, demanding 
either a proper trial or a public apology for their 
arrest. The only way out of the dilemma was for 
the Governor to order the officers back to their duty 
until a court - martial could be assembled, a step 
which practically closed the incident ; but the fact 
of subalterns demanding an apology from their com- 
manding officer was scarcely an encouraging aspect 
of discipline in the regiment. Phillip had been 
instructed " by every possible means to open an 
intercourse with the natives and to conciliate their 
affections," and his policy from the commencement 
was characterised by a desire to inspire them with 
confidence. On all occasions when he personally 
came in contact with them his address, combininsf 
courage and firmness with a fine sense of the natives' 
rights, produced the most pleasing effect ; but all the 
good done by the Governor was undone by the 
convicts and marines, who wantonly destroyed the 
canoes and other property which the natives left on 
the shore and in many ways provoked acts of re- 


taliation which not infrequently ended in loss of life. 
Ill-treatment of the natives by the colonists, when 
detected, met with severe punishment, but in spite of 
every precaution outrages by one class or the other 
were of frequent occurrence. Phillip, seeing the 
necessity of an interpreter, if friendly intercourse 
was to be established, secured a young aboriginal 
man, named Arabanoo, in December, 1788, and took 
much pains to instruct him in the language and 
customs of the white men. This experiment was 
promising to be successful when Arabanoo died from 
small-pox. Two other natives, named Bennilong and 
Colebe, were afterwards captured, and they on many 
occasions acted as intermediaries between the blacks 
and the new-comers. Although Phillip was often in 
positions of very great danger from attacks of the 
natives, the apparent absence of all fear and the 
remarkable tact which he displayed saved him, and 
only once did he meet with any mishap at their 
hands. On this occasion a native, to .whom he had 
been introduced by Bennilong, misunderstanding his 
friendly advances and thinking that Phillip intended 
to seize him as Bennilong had before been seized, 
threw his spear, which entered above Phillip's collar- 
bone, the barb passing out at his back. The wound 
proved not to be so serious as it at first sight ap- 
peared, and in ten days the Governor was about 
again, and made another visit to the tribe of the 
aggressor, in order to show that he felt no ill-will. 

Although the convicts had been landed in better 
health than the most sanguine could have hoped, 
sickness broke out soon after they were on shore, 


and scurvy and dysentery greatly weakened the 
effective strength of the settlement. The number 
of unproductive consumers was day by day grow- 
ing more out of proportion to the producers, and 
the food question assumed a very serious aspect. 
Rations were reduced, and the Sh'h/s, leaving behind 
guns and everything she could dispense with, in order 
to make more room, was despatched to the Cape, 
the Siipply being sent at the same time to Batavia 
for provisions. After a lengthy voyage the Sirins 
returned, "every officer's department and all the 
store-rooms being completely filled ; " but even then 
the food she brought could not postpone the impend- 
ing disaster for more than a few weeks. Numerous 
attempts were made by convicts to escape from the 
settlement : some started to walk to China, which 
they imagined to be only 150 miles distant ; others 
wandered away into the bush and were never heard 
of again ; while a few seized boats and put to sea. 

The most successful of these latter was a man 
named Bryant, who, in a fishing-boat, sailed, with his 
wife and two children — one of whom was an infant — 
and seven convicts, and arrived safely at Timor. 
Owing to want of discretion on the part of some of 
the convicts, their identity was discovered, and the 
Dutch Governor handed them over to the captain 
of H.M.S. Pandora, who was at that time in port. 
Crime — more especially robberies of food, both by the 
soldiers and convicts — increased with the decrease of 
the food allowance, and executions and other punish- 
ments occurred with appalling frequency. The abso- 
lute necessity of protecting the public stores and the 


little vegetable gardens of the settlers was apparent 
to every one but Ross, who seized the opportunity- 
afforded by the arrest of a soldier by the night watch 
for robbing a garden to make one more attempt to 
embarrass the Governor. Ross even went so far as 
to advise his men to use their bayonets to protect 
themselves when molested in their predatory expedi- 

At last resources became so low, that it was deter- 
mined to send a further detachment to Norfolk Island, 
under Major Ross, who was appointed Lieutenant- 
Governor in succession to King, to relieve the main 
settlement of some of the mouths to be filled, em- 
ploying the services of King as a special envoy to 
England to lay before the Government more forcibly 
than could be done in any despatches the desperate 
straits to which the settlement had been reduced, in 
the matter of food as well as the various reforms in the 
Government and military which were so urgently 
needed. The Siriiis and Supply sailed with Ross 
and a large body of marines and convicts, provided 
as well with stores. Norfolk Island was reached 
safely, and the passengers landed ; but while dis- 
charging the cargo, the Sirius drifted on a reef and 
became a total wreck. 

The intention had been to proceed to China for 
provisions, taking King, who was to have made his 
way thence to England ; after the wreck, however. 
King at once returned to Sydney in the Sjipply. 

At headquarters matters were gradually going from 
bad to worse. The fleet had left England with two 
years' supply of provisions, and although next to 


nothing had been obtained from the land, three years 
had already passed without any additional support or 
news from home. The rations had been so reduced, 
that it was found necessary to serve them " daily to 
every person in the settlement, without distinction," 
so that it might not be possible for any one to devour 
a week's rations at one meal and then starve. All 
Government work had to be stopped, owing to the 
extreme weakness of the convicts, and every one was 
occupied in procuring food by fishing or shooting, 
and for this purpose all private boats were pressed 
into the public service. The only hope of saving the 
people from starvation was to send the little brig Supply 
to Batavia ; this was therefore done, the commander 
having instructions to there charter a large ship, at 
any price, and send her to Sydney with provisions. 
Trench, an officer of marines, draws a graphic picture 
of the terrible straits to which the colony was re- 
duced : " Three or four instances of persons who 
have perished from want have been related to me. 
One only, however, fell within my own observation. 
I was passing the provision store, when a man, with 
a wild, haggard countenance, who had just received 
his daily pittance to carry home, came out. His fal- 
tering gait, and eager, devouring eye led me to watch 
him ; and he had not proceeded ten steps before he 
fell. I ordered him to be carried to the hospital, 
where, when he arrived, he was found dead." 

The one bright spot in this scene of misery was 
the demeanour of Phillip. With a patient endurance, 
he bore the privations in common with his meanest 
subject. Famished and in ill health, he none the less 


gave every thought to the welfare of those under his 
charge ; while the grievances which called forth 
bitter lamentations from his subordinates, he wrote 
about as " The little difficulties we have met with, 
which time and proper people for cultivating the land 
will remove." In the colony's darkest hour he never 
swerved from the opinion " that this country will 
prove the most valuable acquisition Great Britain ever 
made." His example was not confined to words. 
" The Governor, from a motive that did him immortal 
honour," wrote Collins, "gave up three hundred weight 
of flour, which was his Excellency's private property, 
declaring that he wished not to see anything more at 
his table than the ration which was received in common 
from the public store, without any distinction of per- 
sons ; and to this resolution he rigidly adhered, wish- 
ing that, if a convict complained, he might see that 
want was not unfelt even at Government House." 
Actions such as these were not uncommon during his 
rule, and they lost none of their virtue from the fact 
that he always forgot to mention them when writing 
officially or privately to England. 

A flagstaff was erected on the South Head, so that 
the appearance of any approaching sail could be at 
once made known to the starving inhabitants ; and 
the following extract from a letter to England of one 
of the men stationed on the look-out brings home 
the aching anxiety with which the glittering horizon 
was watched for relief: "Early and late do I look 
with anxious eyes towards the sea ; and at times, 
when the day was fast setting and the shadows of the 
evening stretched out, I have been deceived with some 


fantastic little cloud, which, as it condensed or ex- 
panded by such a light, for a short time has amused 
impatient imagination into a momentary idea that it 
was a vessel altering her sail and position while steer- 
ing in for the haven ; when, in an instant, it has 
assumed a form so unlike what the mind was intent 
upon, or has become so greatly extended, as fully 
to certify me of its flimsy texture and fleeting 

At last a sail appeared ; and on the evening of 
June 3, 1790, the joyful cry of "The flag's up !" re- 
sounded in every direction. " I was sitting in my 
hut," wrote Trench, "musing on our fate, when a con- 
fused clamour in the street drew my attention. I 
opened my door, and saw several women, with children 
in their arms, running to and fro with distracted looks, 
congratulating each other, and kissing their infants 
with the most passionate and extravagant marks of 
fondness. I needed no more, but instantly started 
out and ran to a hill, where, by the assistance of my 
pocket-glass, my hopes were realised. My next-door 
neighbour, a brother officer, was with me ; but we 
could not speak ; we wrung each other by the hand, 
with eyes and hearts overflowing." 

The vessel turned out to be the JiUiana, with 222 
female convicts, for whom Philip had asked in more 
prosperous times, in order to render the proportion of 
sexes in the colony more equal. She also brought 
some provisions and part of the cargo of the store- 
ship Guardian^ which had been wrecked off the Cape 
of Good Hope by collision with an iceberg, and the 
loss of which had been the cause of the long delay in 


arrival of help for the colony. A few weeks after the 
Juliana, the Justinian storeship made the port, fol- 
lowed, a little later, by the Supply and the vessel 
chartered in China ; so that the full ration was 
restored. But before long three more transports 
arrived full of prisoners, amongst whom sickness and 
pestilence were raging. No less than 261 deaths of 
male convicts had occurred on the passage, while 488 
persons were under medical treatment on landing, 
and the resources of the little colony were taxed to 
the utmost. 

Philip lost no time in sending aid to the people at 
Norfolk Island, where the sufferings from want of 
food had been almost as severe as at Sydney. The 
settlement was saved by the discovery of what the 
sailors called mutton birds — a species of petrel — 
which alighted in thousands on the highest peak in 
the island. From two to three thousand of these 
birds were captured nightly, and for some time they 
formed the principal support of the inhabitants. 

The first detachment of the newly-formed New 
South Wales Corps arrived in the transports, to re- 
lieve the marines who had come out with the first 
fleet. This corps had been raised by Major Grose, 
for special service in the settlement, and it was hoped 
by the English Government that the change would 
remove all the friction which had so long existed 
between the civil and military powers. Ross was 
recalled with the marines, for his erratic behaviour 
had not met with approbation. 

A few of the men of the marines, under Captain- 
Lieutenant Johnston, joined the new corps, which 


was to play a very prominent part in the later history 
of the colony. The very large increase in the popu- 
lation, and the inability of the greater proportion of 
the new-comers to do any productive work, brought 
the community once more to a state of famine. A 
vessel was sent to India to obtain supplies; but while 
waiting for her return, rations were cut down to the 
smallest amount which would keep body and soul 
together. The extremities to which the colony was 
reduced may be gathered from a letter written by 
Phillip to King, in which he says that, " When the 
Atlantic arrived, we had only thirteen days' flour and 
forty-five days of maize in store, at i^ lb. flour and 
4^ lb. maize per man for seven days." 

King had returned towards the close of 1791 from 
his mission to England, where he had been most 
successful, receiving promotion and being especially 
appointed Lieutenant-Governor of Norfolk Island. 

Phillip's health gave way under his arduous duties, 
and shortly after King's departure to resume his 
command at Norfolk Island, the Governor asked to 
be permitted to return to England. Very reluctantly 
leave was granted, but the English Government 
delayed appointing his successor, in the hopes of 
persuading him to again take up the duties which he 
had performed with such signal success and discretion. 
On the nth of December, 1792, Phillip left the 
colony, and Major Francis Grose, the Commandant 
of the New South Wales Corps, assumed the reins of 
government, in virtue of his commission as Lieutenant- 




Were any demonstration of the wisdom and 
beneficial influence of Phillip's rule needed, it is 
abundantly provided by the errors and incompetence 
of his immediate successors. One of the first actions 
of Grose was to supersede the civil magistracy and 
place the government entirely in the hands of the 
mihtary. In a society such as then existed in the 
colony the change might have had no very bad effect 
had the New South Wales Corps been composed of 
respectable and reliable men. But the knowledge 
that they possessed practically uncontrolled power 
rapidly produced an impatience of every kind of 
restraint. No sooner was Phillip's back turned than 
all the elements for evil, both in. guards and convicts, 
were given full play, and lust, profanity, and crime 
reigned unchecked. 

Instructions had been received shortly after the 
Governor's departure authorising him to make grants 
of land, and to assign convict servants within pre- 


scribed limits to officers of the New South Wales 
Corps. Grose therefore lost no time in availing him- 
self of this permission, but he entirely disregarded 
the specified limitations. The baneful influence of 
the military did not confine itself to example, and 
those whose most obvious and solemn duty it was to 
try and improve the moral condition of the convicts 
had no hesitation in encouraging vice and debauchery 
amongst them for their own material gain. Phillip, 
although he had never tolerated any special indul- 
gence to the soldiers in the way of an undue allow- 
ance from the public stores, had nevertheless been 
mindful of their comfort, and had recommended the 
English Government to send out certain luxuries, 
such as wine, spirits, and tobacco, to be sold at cost 
price to those of the officers who might wish to 
purchase them for their own consumption. When 
the military became the largest farmers and employers 
of labour, they did not take long to discover to what 
very profitable account this concession could be 
turned. The craving for spirits amongst the convict 
population had always been very great ; possibly a 
desire to forget their misery in intoxication may have 
strengthened it, at the same time, owing to the small 
quantity which Phillip had permitted to be landed in 
the colony, prices were exceedingly high. Men who 
would not work for wages would readily engage for 
rum ; the lucrative nature of the traffic open to the 
officers is apparent. Before Grose had been in com- 
mand many months spirits became the common and 
recognised medium of exchange, the military pur- 
chasing at from 4s. to 5s. per gallon and retailing at 



prices ranging up to ;^8 per gallon. There can be 
no doubt that the officers by this means got far more 
work done than otherwise would have been possible, 
but the effect on the community needs no description. 
Religious observances became a farce, murders and 
robberies multiplied, and attacks of terrible brutality 
upon the natives called forth reprisals of equal vio- 
lence, and laid the foundation of the inhuman cruelty 
which is a dark blot on the page of Australia's 

At Norfolk Island King continued to rule his little 
colony with justice and wisdom ; but the great dis- 
similarity betv\^een the methods pursued by Grose 
and his subordinate must inevitably have sooner or 
later produced a collision. The crisis, when it came, 
strikingly exemplified the characters of the two men. 
Even at Norfolk Island the military had become 
infected with the arrogance and licentiousness of the 
corps in Sydney, and the relations between free or 
freed settlers and the soldiers were by no means 
cordial. One day a settler found that a soldier had 
very grievously wronged him, and in the heat of his 
passion shot and wounded the offender. King, him- 
self a pure and honourable man, sympathised with 
the settler, and only inflicted a small penalty on him, 
whereupon other soldiers took up their friend's cause, 
and shamefully maltreated the man who had shot their 
comrade, taking the occasion of a theatrical per- 
formance at which King was present, to behave in a 
riotous and insubordinate way. After the entertain- 
ment they demanded from Lieutenant Abbot, their 
commanding officer, that the settler should be more 


severely punished, and swearing that they would not 
permit any soldier to suffer for an offence against a 
convict, displayed such a mutinous temper, that King 
and Abbot in consultation decided that the company 
had better be promptly disarmed and a militia enrolled 
from the free settlers to act in its stead. This course 
was followed, and the ringleaders of the mutiny were 
sent to Sydney for trial. That King should presume 
to interfere with the New South Wales Corps so 
angered Grose that he completely lost his head, and 
censured King's action in a despatch which is a 
truly remarkable specimen of official correspondence. 
Another cause of friction was in connection with 
two New Zealand chiefs who had been kidnapped in 
order that they might instruct the colonists at Norfolk 
Island in the preparation of the native flax. • King, 
fearful that, after they had imparted all the know- 
ledge they possessed, they would not reach their own 
country in safety, himself accompanied them to New 
Zealand being absent from his government ten days. 
Grose took this opportunity to severely reprimand 
him. The most serious trouble, however, was the 
dishonouring by Grose of the bills drawn by King 
to pay settlers in Norfolk Island for crops purchased 
on Government account. These bills had been drawn 
in strict accordance with Phillip's instructions, and 
the refusal of Grose to meet them so disheartened 
the farmers that an irremediable blow was struck at 
agricultural development in the island. 

All these matters were referred to the English 
authorities ; Grose, it is true, was censured, while 
King's action was ccmmended, but the effect of this 


breach of faith could not be removed by the tardy 
payment of the money. 

Surrounded by disaffection among his own corps, 
in spite of all he had done for them, and conscious of 
the disapprobation of his conduct in England, Grose 
felt no desire to remain, so in December, 1794, he 
left the country, resigning the command to Captain 
Paterson, as senior military officer. Captain Hunter, 
who had charge of the Sirhis up to her wreck, had 
been appointed to succeed Phillip before Paterson 
began to rule, so that that officer can scarcely be 
blamed for permitting things to continue as Grose 
left them and troubling himself very little with affairs 
of government. Hunter arrived in September, 1795, 
carrying with him imperative instructions to reinstate 
the civil magistracy and suppress the liquor traffic. 
The first he did, but he was unequal to the latter 
task. In less troublous times he might have governed 
successfully, but he was not strong enough to battle 
with the great abuses which permeated every grade 
of society, and his official reports are one long lamen- 
tation that the task was too hard. In his efforts at 
reform, he received no help from the corps, which he 
described as containing " characters who have been 
considered disgraceful to every other regiment in his 
Majesty's service, who were often superior in every 
species of infamy to the most expert in wickedness 
among the convicts " ; but he feared to provoke them 
to open hostility. If he could only have done what 
he wished to do all would have been well, for his 
successor gave a fitting epitaph to his government 
when he wrote : " His public conduct has been guided 



by the most upright intentions, but he has been most 
shamefully deceived by those upon whom he had 
every reason to depend for assistance and advice." 

King had been so successful at Norfolk Island 
that he appeared the most fit person to cope with the 
difficulties which had overwhelmed Hunter. He was, 
moreover, still in England on leave, and by his 
personal experience of the present state of affairs in 
New South Wales, was of considerable assistance to 
the Secretary of State in the consultations which 
took place with Phillip and Banks as to the best 
means to be pursued for the reformation of the 

It was acknowledged that Hunter had acted to the 
best of his ability, and it was recognised that his 
recall would be a bitter disappointment to him ; so the 
Duke of Portland determined to send out King as 
Lieutenant-Governor, with a dormant commission 
appointing him Governor in case of Hunter's absence 
or death. King was made the bearer of very stringent 
instructions with regard to the liquor traffic, mono- 
poly and military traders, and he was directed to 
lose no time in promulgating them and enforcing 

In April, 1800, he arrived in the colony, but, 
although the hint conveyed by the dormant commis- 
sion was clear, Hunter, unwilling to confess him- 
self beaten, clung to office. King's position was 
anomalous ; until Hunter left New South Wales he 
had practically no power or authority, and Hunter 
himself was disinclined to carry out the instructions of 
which he had been made the bearer. For some months 


King assisted in the general administration of public 
business, but Hunter discouraged any attempt to deal 
with the principal abuses, so that all that could be 
done in this direction was to pave the way for future 
reforms by cutting off the supply of spirits at its 
source. With this end in view King communicated 
with the Governor-General of India and the British 
Consuls in America, requesting either that the ship- 
ment of spirits to New South Wales should be 
stopped, or, where this was impossible, that ship- 
owners and masters should be warned that the land- 
ing of spirits in the colony had been prohibited. At 
last in September the Governor reluctantly yielded to 
King's entreaties, and consented to the promulgation 
of the orders respecting military traders, and the 
barter of spirits. As the New South Wales Corps 
were so deeply concerned. Colonel Paterson was first 
informed, and desired to make the substance of the 
new regulations known to the officers under his 
command ; shortly afterwards the instructions from 
the British Government dealing with these matters 
were published, and created a profound sensation 
among all classes of people. The immediate enforce- 
ment of the new order of things would have entailed 
great loss, and possibly even ruin on many persons ; so 
King made some slight temporary concessions, though 
the command that no military officer should partake 
in any form of trade caused acute irritation amongst 
the military. Captain Macarthur, who had already 
by his energy and ability taken a prominent position 
as farmer, trader, and soldier, with characteristic im- 
petuousity, determined to shake the dust of New 


South Wales from his feet, and with this object offered 
the whole of his valuable collection of sheep and 
cattle to the Government at a low price. King, who 
on several occasions obtained his end by meeting 
extravagant conduct of this sort with imperturbability, 
gravely recommended the purchase to the Secretary of 
State, but, as he had doubtless anticipated, before an 
answer was received Macarthur had plunged afresh 
with undiminished enthusiasm into his schemes for 
fine wool growing. 

Hunter now perceived that his return to England 
was advisable, so left King with a free hand. The 
new Governor at once set about reform. Certificates 
for landing were refused for most of the spirits, which 
arrived in large quantities from India, America, the 
Cape, and Brazil. In the first fourteen months of 
his rule no less than 32,000 gallons of spirits and 
22,000 gallons of wine were sent out of the har- 
bour, and the small quantity, which was permitted to 
be landed, had to be sold at a fixed price of from 4s. 
to los. a gallon. As much as £S per gallon had, just 
previously to Hunter's departure, been recovered in 
the Court, the judgment having been sustained by 
Hunter on appeal ; so the violent reaction which 
King's proceedings must have produced is evident. 
Steps were also taken to prevent smuggling ; regu- 
lations were framed to govern the landing of spirits, 
very heavy penalties being attached to the infringe- 
ment of them. 

The population at King's departure was only 
7,519 persons, 3,295 of whom were women and 
children, but, during the six years which he governed 


the colony, shippers were refused permission to land 
cargoes to the amount of no less than 100,777 
gallons of spirits and wine. Having taken effective 
steps to control the importation of liquor, the 
next thing to be done was to regulate the trade 
within the colony, and King determined to limit the 
power to sell spirits to persons specially licensed on 
the recommendation of the magistrates. In this way 
all retailers of liquor were brought under the notice 
of the Government, and any irregularities perpetrated 
by them could be easily punished. It was not to be 
expected that abuses of such deep Growth could be 
removed without much difficulty, and King's energetic 
measures called forth " much animadversion, secret 
threats and officious advice," from those with whom 
the reform interfered. The Governor was no respecter 
of persons, and all classes, from officers to convicts, 
were given to clearly understand that obedience to 
orders was necessary, and that disregard of the regu- 
lations carried severe and inevitable punishment. 

The spirit traffic was not the only trade which 
received attention, and a general order was issued in 
October, 1800, by which an attempt was made to deal 
with monopoly and extortion. The price at which 
private retailers might sell articles was fixed by 
the Governor at 20 per cent, on the price paid to 
the shippers, which was estimated at from So to 100 
per cent, on the value of the articles in Europe 
or India. In order to prevent evasion of this 
regulation, it was also ordered that no cognisance 
should be taken by the Courts of any promissory note 
or bill, unless the consideration for which it had been 


given was clearly set forth thereon, and printed pro- 
missory note forms were supjDlied by the Govern- 
ment. Butchers and bakers were licensed, and the 
quality and price of meat and bread regulated, and 
various other traders were treated in a similar way. 
The following notice promulgated by King in March, 
1806, is an example of the prevailing method of 
dealing with commercial matters : — 


'■'■March 23, 1806. 

" The following ordinance of the 8th of May, 1801, and general 
order of the 17th of May, 1802, are repeated, and required to be 
duly observed and enforced, viz. : — 

"It is hereby ordered, that no other than one quality of wheat- 
bread is to be made throughout the colony, viz., such bread to 
be composed of meal, from which only twenty-four pounds of 
bran are to be taken from one hundred pounds. As this regu- 
lation is necessary to prevent a distressing scarcity, any inhabi- 
tant or person resident in the colony disobeying this ordinance 
will be punished according to their respective situations, exclu- 
sive of the penalty of five pounds for each offence. Bakers of 
any description disobeying any part of this ordinance will, on 
conviction, have their ovens taken down, and be fined in the 
penalty of ten pounds for each offence." 

The Female Orphan Institution was the most per- 
manent and, probably, the most beneficial of King's 
early reforms. One of the first things which he 
noticed on arriving in the colony was the terrible 
temptation to a life of degradation and infamy which 
surrounded the children, and even before Hunter's 
departure he decided to found an institution, in which 
the girls at any rate could be received and rescued 
from the fate which otherwise awaited them. A house 


in Parramatta was purchased by bills drawn on the 
British Treasury, and a committee formed to manage 
tlie home. 

Long after King had retired the Female Orphan 
Institution continued to do good work, and the full 
benefit derived by the country from this humane 
effort to keep the rising generation uncontaminated 
by the terrible vice which ran riot through the land 
was reaped in later years. But King had other 
matters of equally serious character to occupy him. 
The Irish rebellion of 1798 had supplied large num- 
bers of convicts for transportation, and these political 
prisoners brought with them a restless energy, which 
was a constant cause of anxiety to their guards. The 
French wars at this time also tended to excite the 
bond population, amongst whom vague and unfounded 
reports of the intention of the French to seize the 
settlement and set them at liberty were continually 
circulating. Sometimes these hopes were stimulated 
by the arrival of privateers with their prizes in the 
harbour, and in 1804 an engagement between two 
ships took place off the Heads, within sight of the 
inhabitants. Rumours of intended insurrection had 
reached the Government before Hunter's departure ; 
therefore it became necessary, in the first months of 
King's rule, to take extra precautions against surprise, 
and an " Armed Association," composed of loyal free 
settlers, was enrolled. From this time forward there 
were continual conspiracies and outbreaks among the 
convicts. The widespread feeling of suspicion and 
expectation seriously interfered with progress in 
peaceful development. The Governor's time was so 


fully occupied in preparing for or dealing with revolts 
of one sort or another that little chance was left for 
the encouragement of agriculture or other industries. 
In 1802, so grave were the apprehensions that a pro- 
clamation ordering a general search for arms was 
promulgated, accompanied by very stringent regula- 
tions with regard to seditious meetings or utterances. 
During the early months of 1803 there were several 
acts of lawless violence reported on the part of the 
convicts, and at the end of that year the " Loyal 
Associations " had been again embodied on receipt of 
the news of the renewal of hostilities with France. 
At the commencement of March, 1804, curious 
rumours reached the authorities. Captain Abbot at 
Parramatta, and Mr. Arndell, at the Hawkesbury, 
both heard " several mysterious informations about 
an intended insurrection." On the 4th of March 
Marsden learnt that that date had been determined 
on for a general rising, and that the password was 
" St. Peter." By midnight King, who was in Sydney, 
had been informed ; he started immediately for Parra- 
matta, and before 1.30 a.m. on the 5th Major Johnston, 
with a small force, was on his way to the disturbed 
districts. The further particulars received by King 
on his arrival at Parramatta had convinced him 
that this movement was much more serious than 
anything that had yet taken place, and that strong 
and immediate action was necessary. 

Not a moment was lost. By noon, on the 5th, the 
country had been scoured for arms lest they should 
fall into the hands of the rebels, and martial law had 
been proclaimed throughout the disaffected districts. 


Johnston with his Httle band arrived at Parramatta at 
dawn, and, after a halt of twenty minutes to refresh 
the men, set off in pursuit of a body of rebels who 
were said to be marching towards the Hawkesbury. 
As the direction they had taken was uncertain, the 
detachment of soldiers were divided in half, one party 
under Lieutenant Davis following the Castle Hill 
road, while Johnston and the remainder hastened 
towards Toongabbee. On catching sight of the 
insurgents, Major Johnston rode forward, attended by 
a trooper and Mr. Dixon, the Roman Catholic priest, 
and called to them to halt, saying that he wished to 
speak to them. " They desired that I would come 
into the middle of them," writes Johnson in his 
official report, " as their captains were there ; which I 
refused, observing to them that I was within pistol 
shot, and that it was in their power to kill me, and 
that their captains must have very little spirit if they 
would not come forward to speak to me ; upon which 
two persons (Cunningham and Johnston) advanced 
towards me as their leaders, to whom I represented 
the impropriety of their conduct, and advised them to 
surrender, and that I would mention them in as 
favourable terms as possible to the Governor. iCun- 
ningham replied that they would have death or 
liberty." At this moment the rest of the detachment 
came up and Major Johnston gave the command to 
charge. The order was obeyed with such irresistible 
ferocity, that the rebel line broke after but slight 
resistance, and the convicts fled in all directions. 
Twelve were killed, six wounded, and twenty-six, 
a number equal to the whole attacking force, taken 


prisoners. Cunningham, one of the rebel leaders, 
was at once hung ; and on the 8th, after trial by 
court martial at Parramatta, several others suffered 
the same fate. The prompt action of King and 
Johnston had a good effect, and with the first 
reverse the insurgent cause was ruined. On the 
loth of March, martial law was cancelled and civil 
authority restored, but the Governor took every 
precaution to prevent a recurrence of such a revolt. 
No man free or bond was in future to be permitted 
to leave the place he resided in without a pass from 
a magistrate, and other stringent regulations govern- 
ing the general management and control of convicts 
were rigorously enforced. Doubtless these restric- 
tions were necessary in the existing conditions of 
society, but it is impossible to read the chronicles of 
this date without feeling that an effort on the part 
of the bond to regain their freedom was justified 
by the brutality of the treatment they received in 
bondage. The blood-curdling cruelty and outrage, 
to which convicts were often compelled to submit 
on the voyage out, was equalled only by the un- 
mentionable horrors of the road gangs after arrival ; 
whila the vexatious bullying, which was a frequent 
characteristic of assignment, in spite of King's efforts 
to render justice alike to bond and free and to pre- 
vent cruelty by masters to their servants, frequently 
made the lot of those transported unalloyed misery. 

Reference has already been made to the singular 
restrictions placed upon trade ; but the peculiarity of 
the Governor's connection with commercial under- 
takings was not confined to the licensing of traders 


and the regulations of prices. In 1801 the settlers 
at the Hawkesbury sought his aid to extricate 
themselves from the state of hopeless insolvency, 
to which their dissolute and drunken habits had 
reduced them. The particular means which they 
suggested for their relief was " one year's suspension 
of the Civil Courts of Judicature," so that it should 
be impossible for creditors to obtain judgments, and 
effect executions on their property. King met this 
questionable proposal with a severe rebuke, but 
expressed the hope that their creditors would not 
be very harsh, as he feared the effects on the develop- 
ment of agriculture. There was perhaps more excuse 
for the Hawkesbury settlers' demand than would at 
first sight appear, for the improvidence and reckless 
dissipation of the people had bred a class of equally 
disreputable usurers, who lost no . opportunity of 
battening on the follies of their fellow colonists. 
In 1804 the abuses of usury had reached such 
dimensions, that King fixed the rate of interest 
at 8 per cent., and ordered that all persons 
attempting to extort more were to forfeit " treble 
the value, to be appropriated to such fund as the 
Governor may direct." King at this period was 
very much inconvenienced by the want of a qualified 
legal adviser, a want which repeated requests to the 
Secretary of State failed to remove. The Judge- 
Advocate was an illiterate and dissipated retired 
officer, and King in 1803 complained that from the 
judgments of the Court there " has scarce been a 
cause without an appeal, which takes up too much 
of the Governor's time," as he had himself to decide 


in all such cases. The military officers, compos- 
ing the jury no doubt gave decisions to the satis- 
faction of their own consciences, but many were 
of such an extraordinary character that law and 
justice fell into contempt. 

As with all his predecessors from the foundation of 
the colony, the military were a source of continual 
trouble. They had always regarded the civil power 
with no friendly eyes, and King's activity in connec- 
tion with the suppression of the liquor traffic still 
further estranged them. In 1802 certain officers of 
the New South Wales Corps made unfounded charges 
against the officers of the French discovery ships 
under Baudin, then in port, and were compelled by 
the Governor to apologise ; by this unfortunate oc- 
currence things were brought to a head, and Paterson, 
the Colonel of the corps, endeavoured to bring King 
to his knees by means of the very instructions which 
the Governor had been so zealous in enforcing. The 
words of the Commander-in-chief with regard to 
military traders were that no officer was to be 
" permitted on any account whatever to engage 
in the cultivation of farms or any other occupa- 
tion to detach them from their military duty " ; 
Paterson, therefore, objected to the employment by 
the Governor of any officers in any other way than 
that specified. The naval officer, or collecter of 
customs, and a gentleman who acted as military 
and civil engineer were affected, so King at once 
dispensed with their services, thanking them for the 
efficient manner in which they had always performed 
their duties. But he did not stop here. Paterson 


was informed that the guard which had usually- 
attended the Governor was no longer required, 
and a paymaster who had been a magistrate was 
removed from the commission of the peace, while 
the Governor himself, as Commander-in-chief of New 
South Wales, directed " that no officer or soldier 
in the territory be employed on any other than their 
military duty." The places of the guard were filled 
by convicts pardoned for the purpose, and the position 
of artillery instructor and engineer was conferred on 
an officer who had been transported from India for 
killing his antagonist in a duel. Phillip had managed 
the military by patience and tact, and Hunter had 
succumbed to them ; but King gained his end by 
showing them that he was quite indifferent as to 
whether he received their support or not. At the 
same time King pointed out to the Secretary of 
State that it was by no means desirable that the 
Governor should be so utterly dependent on one 
regiment, and suggested that a small force of artillery 
should be despatched to the colony. It is only fair 
to the New South Wales Corps to add, that when 
real need of their services presently occurred on 
account of insurrection of the convicts, they displayed 
a loyalty and devotion to duty beyond all praise. 

The position of Governor was in these days 
certainly no sinecure, and few of those who fear- 
lessly performed what they considered to be right 
were able to long withstand the hostility which their 
action could not fail to excite, and the terrible 
strain which the responsibility and isolation of their 
office entailed. King's health gave way, and the 




craving for peace and the opportunity to disprove 
the numberless, malicious, and groundless charges 
against him which his enemies showered upon their 
friends in England, induced him to resign. The 
effects of the good work done were lost sight of in 
the turbulent times which followed, but the noble 
fight he made against the difficulties and dangers 
which had proved insuperable to Hunter was 
crowned with a large measure of success, and the 
lofty ideal of duty, which was the load-star of his 
whole career, made him a fitting successor to his 
friend and mentor Phillip. 



(1 806-1810.) 

Captain William Bligh was appointed to fill 
King's place, and entered on his short but eventful 
government in August, 1806. He was unfortunate 
in the time of his arrival, for the colony after a 
period of prosperity was suffering severely from a 
terrible flood, which in March of that year had 
swept down the Hawkesbury valley, carrying flocks, 
herds, crops, and homesteads before it. The Hawkes- 
bury settlers, who had always been the most pros- 
perous in the settlement, were ruined and hopeless, 
and about fifteen hundred persons out of a total 
population of the colony of 7,500, were for the 
time reduced to the verge of starvation, and had 
to be supported by the Government, or the charity 
of their fellows. The loss of the grain crops made 
it expedient to reduce the ration from the Govern- 
ment store, and the irritation caused by King's 
measures to suppress the liquor traffic and monopoly 
was increased by the apprehension and depression 
consequent upon the flood. 




The community was still disturbed by rumours of 
insurrection, and in February, 1807, a serious plot 
was discovered. The Sydney Gazette, the semi- 
official paper, thus describes the conspiracy : " We 
are happy to announce to the public that by extreme 
vigilance the most atrocious and wicked plan of 
insurrection has been averted. It was planned in a 
most secret manner by some designing Irish prisoners, 
who had artfully instilled into the minds of their 
countrymen a certainty of taking the country and 
gaining their liberty. But their means to accomplish 
those ends were most horrid ; they were to have 
destroyed the Governor. . . . The New South Wales 
Corps were to have been surprised ; the leading gentle- 
men of the colony were to have been killed at the 
same time ; the Porpoise and shipping were to have 
been seized ; and a general massacre was to have 
taken place, so far as to have secured their intended 
purposes. Such was the nature of this diabolical 
plot, when the ringleaders were taken at the same 
moment by a party of the New South Wales Corps, 
whose soldier-like conduct, loyalty, and regard for 
their king and country, deserves the highest praise 
that can be bestowed upon them. This rising of the 
croppies, as it is called, has been more or less in 
agitation for a long time, they having forgot the 
calamitous consequences of their insurrection in 
1804 ; and we have further to lament the infatuation 
of these men, when at the present moment they are, 
particularly, living under greater comforts than fall 
to the lot of the labouring poor of any part of the 


The history of Bligh's rule is little but a record of 
the events which led up to his arrest ; before re- 
viewing these it may be well to glance at the new 
governor's previous experience. Bligh had early in 
his career won distinction. After the bombardment 
of Copenhagen he had been publicly thanked by 
Nelson on the quarter-deck of the flag-ship, and on 
several other occasions he had shown himself able 
and gallant. The achievement which gained him 
most notoriety was the wonderful voyage of over 
3,500 miles, which he made in an open boat after he 
had been deserted by the mutineers on his ship the 
Bounty. The perils of the voyage and the extra- 
ordinary skill with which he navigated his frail craft 
seemed to have diverted public attention from the 
events which had led, not only crew, but officers to 
seek by violence a release from his rule. The glamour 
of romance which surrounded his great voyage made 
him the hero of the hour, and when Sir Joseph Banks 
was consulted as to a fitting successor to King, Bligh's 
name at once occurred to him. Banks's letter to Bligh 
is of special interest, for it shows the inducements held 
out to the latter, and also the great influence the 
former had in the direction of matters affecting the 
colony. On March 15, 1805, the great botanist 
wrote : — 

" My dear Sir, — An opportunity has occurred this 
day which seems to me to lay open an opportunity of 
being of service to you, and, as I hope I never omit 
any chance of being useful to a friend whom I esteem 
as I do you, I lose not a moment of apprising you of it. 



" I have always since the first institution of the new 
colony at New South Wales taken a deep interest in 
its success, and have been constantly consulted by his 
Majesty's ministers, through all the changes there 
have been in the department which directs it, relative 
to the more important concerns of the colonists. 

" At present King the Governor is tired of his sta- 
tion, and well he may be so : he has carried into effect 
a reform of great extent which militated much with 
the interest of the soldiers and settlers there ; he is 
consequently disliked and much opposed, and has 
asked leave to return. 

" In conversation I was this day asked if I knew a 
man proper to be sent out in his stead, one who has 
integrity unimpeached, a mind capable of providing 
its own resources in difficulties without leaning on 
others for advice, firm in discipline, civil in deport- 
ment, and not subject to whimper and whine when 
severity of discipline is wanted to meet (emergencies). 
I immediately answered, ' As this man must be chosen 
from among the post-captains I know of no one but 
Captain Bligh who will suit, but whether it will meet 
his views is another question.' 

" I can, therefore, if you choose it, place you in the 
government of the new colony with an income of 
;^2,000 a year, and with the whole of the Government 
power and stores at your disposal, so that I do not 
see how it is possible for you to spend ;^i,ooo ; in 
truth, King, who is now there, receives only ;^i,ooo 
with some deductions, and yet lives like a prince, and 
I believe saves some money ; but I could not under- 
take to recommend any one unless ;^ 2,000 clear was 

banks' letter to bligh. 73 

given, as I think that a man who undertakes so great 
a trust as the management of an important colony 
should be certain of living well and laying up a pro- 
vision for his family. 

" I apprehend that you are about iifty-five years 
old, if so you have by the tables an expectation of 
fifteen years' life and in a climate like that, which is 
the best I know, a still better expectation, but in 
fifteen years ;^i,ooo a year will at compound interest 
of 5 per cent have produced more than ;^ 30,000, and 
in case you should not like to spend your life there 
you will have a fair claim on your return to a pension 
of ;z^ 1, 000 a year. . . . 

" Tell me, my dear sir, when you have consulted 
your pillow what you think of this. To me I confess it 
appears a promising place for a man who has entered 
late into the status of post-captain, and the more so 
as your rank will go on ; for Phillip the Governor is 
now an admiral, holding a pension for his services in 
the country." 

The troubles which culminated in the disastrous 
termination of Bligh's government were almost 
entirely attributable to the lack of those very quali- 
fications in the Governor which Banks enumerates 
in his letter as essential to the successful tenure of 
the post. Had Bligh been a little more "civil in de- 
portment," had he depended a little less on the 
advice of others, and had all his actions been such as 
to preserve his integrity from assault by his enemies, 
he probably would have had no difficulty in compel- 
ling the respect of his subjects while faithfully per- 


forming the duties of his office. Unfortunately, when 
he had only been a few days in the colony he disclosed 
the flaw in his character. The stories of his sayings 
and doings indicate boorishness and violence of temper 
which might easily, in a less difficult position, have 
been his undoing. In a private letter from a gentle- 
man occupying the responsible position of naval 
officer it is stated that Bligh, going " to church in full 
uniform, conjectured that the soldiers laughed at him. 
.... He abused the soldiers in the church and had 
a whole bench of them confined for some days, but 
thought proper to liberate them without trial." At 
the end of the first year of Bligh's rule the same 
person wrote that — " It is completely the reign of 
Robespierre or that of terror. . . . He destroys and 
makes away with all private property, saying every- 
thing is his ; ... in short, everybody is in a state of 
dread. . . . Such, then, is the land we exist in (not live) ; 
how long it can remain in such a state I know not, but 
I think not long." Other evidence to the same effect 
is not wanting in the correspondence of the time, but 
what has been quoted is sufficient to show that within 
twelve months of the assumption of government Bligh 
had earned a reputation for coarse and passionate 
abuse of power. The immediate occasion of his over- 
throw was John Macarthur, who had some time 
previously resigned his commission and thrown him- 
self heart and soul into his fine wool enterprise. 
Before Bligh had been a week in the colony, he had 
insulted Macarthur by asserting in a particularly 
offensive way that the land which had been granted 
him had been obtained by fraud, and from that time 

bligh's quarrel with MACARTHUR. 75 

forward relations between the two men were by no 
means friendly. Bligh would seem to have done all 
in his power to harass Macarthur, and Macarthur 
showed no inclination to submit tamely to what he 
considered injustice. Amongst other speculations of 
the latter was a schooner which traded to and from 
the islands, and it so happened that a convict, un- 
known to Macarthur, escaped in his vessel. Macarthur 
was summoned before the Judge-Advocate, under an 
old general order to prevent the escape of convicts, 
and fined, but he declined to pay the fine on the 
grounds that he was unintentionally and unwittingly 
an offender. The schooner was promptly seized to 
satisfy the judgment, and Macarthur determined to 
abandon her to the officers of the court. When the 
Government took possession of his schooner Macarthur 
ceased supplying provisions for the crew, and, as the 
Government gave them nothing, they were compelled 
to come ashore. But a port order forbade the crew 
of a vessel to land without special permission, under 
which they were arrested and tried for the offence. 
They pleaded that the exigencies of their position 
necessitated their landing, and that, had Macarthur 
provided them with food, they would not have left their 
ship. Atkins, the Judge-Advocate, immediately issued 
a warrant for Macarthur's arrest for causing them to 
commit an illegal act, and he was seized by a body of 
armed police and committed to take his trial before 
the criminal court by a bench of magistrates, over 
whom Atkins presided. On the 5th of January, 1808, 
Macarthur appeared before the court, which consisted 
of a jury of six officers of the New South Wales Corps 


and the Judge-Advocate as president. After the jury 
had been sworn, and as Atkins was about to take the 
oath, Macarthur objected. He stated that he had 
vainly tried to obtain a copy of the indictment against 
him, and that he had appealed to the Governor to 
appoint a disinterested person to preside at the trial 
in the place of Atkins, but that he had been refused. 
He besought the court to protect him, and grant him 
at least a fair trial. He gave numerous reasons why 
Atkins should not preside, and closed a passionate 
appeal with the assertion that Atkins and an emanci- 
pated attorney named Crossley had conspired to ruin 
and destroy him — " I have the proof in my hands in 
the writing of Crossley (here it is, gentlemen ; it was 
dropped from the pocket of Crossley and brought to 
me)." Atkins failing to prevent the reading of the 
protest, adjourned the court, and hurriedly left ; Mac- 
arthur, however, went on to assert that he was in fear 
of his life, and, refusing to give bail, asked for a guard 
to protect his person, a request which was granted by 
the court. During the rest of the day the officers 
forming the court were in constant communication 
with the Governor. They supported Macarthur's 
claim for a disinterested president, but Bligh refused 
to listen to them. Again they requested that some 
one should be appointed to act instead of Atkins, but 
the only reply was a demand for the papers relating 
to the trial, so that they could be delivered to Atkins. 
The officers declined to give up the papers except to 
a new president. Bligh responded by demanding, 
" finally in writing, whether you will deliver up these 
papers or not." The officers expressed their willing- 


ness to give attested copies, but refused to part with 
the originals until the trial was completed. Bligh then 
sent a message to Major Johnston, who commanded the 
New South Wales Corps, desiring to see him at once ; 
Johnston returned an answer that he was too ill to 
leave his house or write. Early on the morning of 
the 26th Macarthur was arrested on a warrant and 
lodged in gaol, and the court again appealed for an 
impartial president, asking for Macarthur's release 
to the bail which they had granted. Bligh returned 
no answer, but issued the following summons to each 
of the officers composing the court : — 

" The Judge-Advocate having presented a memorial 
to me in which you are charged with certain 
crimes, you are therefore hereby required to 
appear before me at Government House at nine 
o'clock to-morrow morning to answer in the 
premises. Given under my hand and seal at 
Government House, Sydney, this 26th day of 
January, 1808." 

A letter was also sent to Johnston informing him 
that six of his officers had been summoned for 
" treasonable practices." The position seemed too 
serious for delay, so Johnston, in spite of his indisposi- 
tion, hastened to Sydney. " On my arrival," he 
stated during his trial in England, " as I passed 
through the streets everything denoted terror and 
consternation ; I saw in every direction groups of 
people with soldiers amongst them, apparently in 
deep and earnest conversation. I immediately re- 


paired to the barracks, and in order to separate the 
military from the people, made the drum beat to 
orders." The excitement was intense. A clamorous 
crowd surged round Johnston in the barrack-square 
and urged him to at once release Macarthur and de- 
pose the Governor, and an order directing the release of 
the former was despatched. Macarthur, as he walked, 
attended by his friends, from the gaol to the barracks, 
was plainly visible from the windows of Government 
House, and Bligh, possibly warned by previous 
experience, realised that he had gone too far, and at 
once prepared for flight. Meanwhile in the barrack- 
square a petition was drawn up praying Johnston to 
take command of the colony. It ran as follows : — 

" Sir, — The present alarming state of this colony, 
in which every man's property, liberty, and life are 
endangered, induces us most earnestly to implore you 
instantly to place Governor Bligh under arrest, and to 
assume command of the colony. We pledge our- 
selves at a moment of less agitation to come forward 
to support the measure with our fortunes and our 

Johnston yielded to their importunities and at once 
acted. A few officers were sent to request the Governor 
to resign, and Johnston followed at the head of the 
corps to Government House. At first Bligh was 
not to be found ; the house was therefore searched 
from kitchen to garret, and eventually he was dis- 
covered in an upper bedroom under circumstances 
which have been the subject of much controversy, 


some asserting that he showed cowardice, and others 
that he was not himself hiding under a bed, but was 
attempting to conceal certain papers. To both 
theories there is objection. It is indeed hard to be- 
lieve that a man of unsullied honour and a reputation 
for exceptional bravery should have proved a coward 
on this occasion ; but, on the other hand, no papers 
which there could be any particular object in conceal- 
ing were ever found or again alluded to. Possibly 
the man with courage to do great deeds in honourable 
warfare may have quailed before the wrath of those 
who had at last been goaded beyond endurance by 
his injustice and tyranny. How far Bligh was the 
dupe of his friends it is hard to say. Crossley, who 
was " the principal adviser to the Governor," was con- 
victed at various times of forgery, perjury, and other 
offences. Atkins, who was also an adviser, was 
described by Bligh himself, in a despatch to the 
Secretary of State, as a man " accustomed to in- 
ebriety, the ridicule of the community, pronouncing 
sentence of death in moments of intoxication, of weak 
determination, and floating and infirm opinions." 
Grose, another friend, was also of bad repute ; in 
fact, the only two respectable advisers he seems 
to have had were Campbell and Palmer, and of 
the former it will be remembered that he had fallen 
foul of King on account of his attempts to import 

After his capture Bligh was placed under arrest, and 
Johnston assumed the reigns of government. He 
dismissed all those who had served under Bligh, and 
appointed his friends in their places ; but, beyond this. 


few changes were made in the general administration 
of affairs. No illegal indulgence of the military, 
similar to that permitted by Grose, was sanctioned, and 
Johnston seems to have honestly and fearlessly obeyed 
the instructions he found in the despatches from the 
Secretary of State, and to have done his utmost to 
prevent the importation of spirits and smuggling. 
On the 28th of July Lieutenant-Governor Colonel 
Foveaux arrived in the colony. He was on his way 
to assume command of Norfolk Island, and was 
ignorant of the events that had passed at Sydney. 
He now undertook the government of New South 
Wales, in the room of Colonel Johnston, but made no 

Governor Bligh was confined in his house, with the 
permission of only sometimes walking in the garden 
attended by a military guard. The Porpoise was des- 
patched to Van Dieman's Land for Paterson, who 
superseded Foveaux as senior military officer, and 
continued to suppress the liquor traffic and illicit distil- 
lation. Bligh was still under arrest, although he was 
treated with respect and his comfort was consulted as 
much as possible, but he lost no opportunity of en- 
deavouring to stir up his friends to re'instate him in the 
government. At the commencement of 1 809 Paterson 
determined to send Bligh, Johnston, and Macarthur to 
England to answer for their conduct ; and consented, 
at Bligh's earnest solicitation, to permit him to sail in 
H.M.S. Porpoise, on condition that he signed a declara- 
tion that he would " neither touch at nor return to this 
territory until he shall have received his Majesty's 
instructions or those of his ministers." Bligh readily 


signed, but as readily broke his covenant. No sooner 
had he set foot on the deck of the Porpoise, and was 
out of Paterson's reach, than he levelled proclamation 
after proclamation at the heads of the persons who 
had participated in his deposition. A little incident 
which occurred when Bligh went on board is recorded 
in the evidence given by Lieutenant Kent, who com- 
manded the Porpoise, and throws a strong light on the 
manner of man the deposed Governor was. " He told 
me with extreme violence," says Kent, " if I knew 
my duty, the moment the guns were on board the 
Porpoise that I should begin and batter the town of 
Sydney until such time as they delivered him up the 
government. I replied I did not conceive my duty 
led me to sacrifice so many innocent lives. He then 
flew into a most violent rage, and told me that one 
day or other he would make me repent not knowing 
my duty." Bligh, to use Paterson's words, " in direct 
violation of his word of honour as an officer and a 
gentleman solemnly pledged thereto " did not steer 
for England, but remained about the coast endeavour- 
ing to create disorder. The danger of serious trouble 
being caused by his presence was a real one, for there 
were many persons who had benefited by his humane 
exertions to relieve the distress caused by the Hawkes- 
bury flood, as well as some influential and honourable 
settlers who deemed no abuse of power a justification 
for an insurrectionary movement such as that adopted 
by Johnston and his friends, and were willing and 
ready to aid Bligh in an attempt to reassert his govern- 
ment. One gentleman let his loyalty so far outweigh 
his discretion as to write a letter to Foveaux express- 



ing contempt for the existing regime. " On Thursday 
morning at ten," says the Sydney Gazette, " the court 
assembled, when Mr. George Suttor, of Baulkham Hills, 
settler, was placed at the bar and indicted for having 
directed to his Honour the Lieutenant-Governor a 
letter, containing certain contumelious expressions, 
with intent to bring into contempt his Honour's 
authority in this territory, &c. The indictment being 
gone through and Mr. Suttor being called upon to 
plead, he replied, ' Gentleman, I deny the legality of 
this court ; you may do with myself as you please ; 
my unfortunate wife and family I leave to the mercy 
of God, until peace shall be restored in the colony : I 
have nothing more to say.' 

" The Judge-Advocate then addressed the prisoner 
as follows : ' Mr. Suttor, you are called upon to 
plead to your indictment ; and whatever you may 
have to offer in your defence will be attentively con- 
sidered. I again ask : are you guilty or not guilty ? ' 

" Prisoner. Sir, all that I have to say I have 
already said. I deny the legality of this court. My 
allegiance is due to Governor Bligh, and Governor 
Bligh alone ; and every drop of blood within my veins 
prevents me from ever acknowledging the legality of 
this court. You may do with me as you think proper.' 

^^ Judge- Advocate. Mr. Suttor, it is my duty to 
acquaint you that it is provided by Act of Parliament 
that in case a prisoner shall refuse to plead to his 
indictment, the effect will be the same as if he pleaded 
guilty. Once more I call upon you — are you guilty 
or not guilty ? ' 

" Prisonef I stand as before ; I have said all I 


have to say ; you are to do with me as you think 

" The court was ordered to be cleared, and in about 
twenty minutes re-opened, when the' Judge-Advocate 
addressed the prisoner as follows : Prisoner at the bar, in 
consequence of your refusal to plead to your indictment, 
the court, in conformity to Act of Parliament, have 
found you guilty, and sentence you to be imprisoned 
six calendar months, and to pay a fine of one shilling.' " 

Nothing of any very great importance occurred dur- 
ing the rule of Paterson, who continued to direct affairs 
until the arrival of Governor Macquarie. Kent and 
Johnston were after much delay tried in England for 
the share they had taken in the arrest and deposition 
of Bligh, and the former was honourably acquitted. 
The court martial on Johnston after a lengthy in- 
vestigation " were of opinion that Lieut.-Col. Johnston 
is guilty of the act of mutiny described in the charge, 
and do therefore sentence him to be cashiered." 
Macarthur was not brought to trial, but suffered a 
severe punishment, the Government refusing to give 
their consent to his return to New South Wales. For 
eight long years he strove to obtain permission to 
return to his home and family, but indignantly re- 
fused to accept any concession based on an acknow- 
ledgment of guilt. He maintained that he possessed 
irrefutable proof of Bligh's peculations, and only 
asked for an opportunity to produce them ; un- 
fortunately such opportunity never arose. At the 
beginning of 1817 his importunity prevailed, and he 
was granted the permission to go back, for which he 
had so long and earnestly craved. 




The deposition of Bligh had been an extremely- 
popular move, but the enthusiasm which had over- 
come Johnston's scruples cooled rapidly when the 
cause of irritation disappeared. Men began to realise 
the serious character of the action they had taken, 
and to speculate about the probable reception of the 
news in England. Bligh's misdeeds lost colour by 
the lapse of time, whilst, on the other hand, besides 
the usual causes of estrangement attendant on the 
office of governor in a society in which the domestic 
details of the inhabitants' lives were matters of state 
concern, surrounded, as they were, by their supporters 
in the late stirring events, all of whom considered that 
they had a just claim to particular recognition, the 
military administrators of necessity gave offence in 
many quarters. 

It was, then, with a feeling of relief, that the greater 
part of the population welcomed Macquarie. By his 


arrival the suspense at any rate was ended, and there 
was good reason to hope that Bligh's mishaps would 
have warned those in authority in England to be 
more careful in future in their selection of governors. 
The military officers and others hastened to worship 
the rising sun with an alacrity which augured well 
for the peace of the settlement, and, if feeling about 
the past still ran high, there appeared to be on all 
sides a desire to avoid a repetition of unhappy dis- 
turbances. Macquarie had been instructed to rein- 
state Bligh for twenty-four hours, to express His 
Majesty's unqualified disapproval of Johnston's be- 
haviour, to send that officer home under close arrest, 
and to immediately relieve the 102nd Regiment, 
formerly the New South Wales Corps. In the 
absence of Bligh, who was still hovering about the 
coast of Tasmania in H.M.S. Porpoise, the first part 
of these instructions could not be carried out, but 
Macquarie's own regim.ent, the 73rd, under Col. 
O'Connell, had accompanied the new governor, and 
at once took over the military duties with the assis- 
tance of an auxiliary force specially enrolled in the 
colony under the title of the Royal Veteran Company. 
All the appointments made since Bligh's deposition 
were annulled, and the persons who had occupied the 
positions previous to that event were reinstated. 
Bligh was sent for, and on his return was received 
with honour, and to all appearances general amity 
prevailed until his departure for England. Never- 
theless the signal failure of two public meetings, 
which were called by the late governor's friends in the 
hope of strengthening his hands in the anticipated 


investigation into the causes of the mutiny, show that 
his offences were bitterly remembered. 

Macquarie immediately set about reform, whilst 
his energy in exploration, and the construction of 
public works, did much to awaken a lasting spirit 
of enterprise in the community. Unfortunately his 
extreme personal vanity made it almost impossible 
for him to benefit by the experience of others, or 
accept advice even from the most trustworthy sources. 
Thus the very fact of Marsden, the chaplain, urging the 
necessity of building barracks for female convicts at 
Parramatta,so that the women might be undersomesort 
of control, was quite sufficient to prevent Macquarie 
from doing it. Neither money nor labourers were 
forthcoming to stem the horrible immorality and 
degradation at Parramatta, although the Governor 
did not scruple to spend a considerable sum on the 
erection of stables for his horses. Another instance 
of the grave errors which Macquarie occasionally 
made is found in the contract for erecting a hospital 
which he conceived to be immediately required. An 
agreement was signed by which three men, one of 
whom, D'Arcy Wentworth, was a prominent official, 
undertook to build it in consideration of a monopoly 
being granted them of the sale of spirits in the colony. 
As the Governor had just promulgated an order for- 
bidding all government or military officials from 
trading and all persons from bartering spirits for 
produce, his action would in any case appear 
anomalous, but in the face of those very evils which 
had resulted from the liquor traffic, which it had 
required such stupendous exertions to conquer, it is 


truly incomprehensible. The "spirit contract" called 
forth severe censure from England, but nevertheless 
the building was actually erected by this means, and 
an already depraved society was still further degraded 
by the widespread influence of the nefarious trans- 

The colony about this time was beset with numerous 
dangers, both social and commercial. The assign- 
ment system, which had answered well enough when 
properly administered, had of late fallen into grave 
abuses. No discrimination had been shown in the 
allotment of servants, and many masters practically 
leased to the convicts assigned to them the liberty of 
which the law had expressly deprived them. This 
evil was somewhat modified by the recall of large 
numbers of the bond from private employers, so that 
they might be put on the public works and buildings 
which, under Macquarie's direction, were being 
pushed forward on all sides ; at the same time the 
cost of the establishment was considerably increased, 
and the sudden withdrawal of labour from the country 
occasioned much loss. 

Both internal and external trade had been grow- 
ing more quickly than the population, and the more 
complicated and extended transactions were much 
hampered by the scarcity of a satisfactory medium of 
exchange. Some curious remedies were resorted to. 
In order to increase the metallic circulation, the 
centre of the Spanish dollar, the principal coin in 
use, was struck out, and thus two coins of a com- 
bined nominal value were more than equivalent to the 
unmutilated piece. Stringent regulations were also 


promulgated to enforce the acceptance of promissory 
notes and bills, which were issued in profusion by all 
manner of persons and were usually subject to a 
discount of about 50 per cent. Commercial transac- 
tions must have indeed been reduced to chaos by the 
combination of a debased metallic currency and the 
forced circulation of worthless paper. 

The want of coin was augmented by the withdrawal 
of convict servants from private to government 
employ, and by the cessation in a great measure of 
the use of liquor for barter, brought about by the 
energy of Governor King. The " spirit contract " 
already alluded to directed the attention of the 
authorities in England to the whole question of 
allowances and concessions, the result being that in 
1 8 14 Lord Bathurst, who was then in charge of 
colonial affairs, took steps to put a stop to the 
practice of granting supplies from the public stores 
and assigning servants, victualled and clothed at the 
public expense, to officers of the Civil Government. In 
the following year the indulgences to the military, by 
which they had been permitted to purchase certain 
luxuries from the stores at prime cost, were dis- 
continued, and the practice of issuing spirits to all 
officials and licensed publicans at a rate below the 
current market value was prohibited. The great 
growth of trade caused the establishment of the Bank 
of New South Wales in 18 16, and three years later 
Macquarie instituted a savings bank, in the hope of 
encouraging thrift amongst the large class of small 
farmers and traders. Soon after the Governor's 
arrival the whole aspect of affairs had been changed 


by the achievements of Messrs. W. C. Wentworth, 
Lawson, and George Blaxland. The first was a son 
of D'Arcy Wentworth, whose name has already 
figured in these pages, and all three were interested 
in pastoral pursuits. When, in 1813, a severe drought 
visited the colony, and much loss and inconvenience 
was felt owing to the limited area of the pasture 
lands available to the rapidly increasing flocks and 
herds, these three men determined to make yet 
another attempt to pierce the mountain barrier, 
which had hitherto confined the settlers to a narrow 
strip of country by the coast. After a journey, 
during which they had to contend with almost in- 
surmountable difficulties, they reached a point from 
which the promising country just beyond the range 
could be seen ; on their return the value of the 
discovery was fully recognised. Macquarie, ever 
ready to encourage exploration, at once sent 
Surveyor Evans to complete the investigations 
commenced by Wentworth and his friends. Evans 
successfully crossed the watershed and found the 
first Australian inland river which he named the 
Macquarie, but, his immediate object being attained 
and provisions running short, he turned back. So 
favourable was his report of the country beyond 
the barrier that a road was commenced, and in 
1 81 5 the Governor and a large suite crossed the 
mountains to inspect the new territory, which had 
been called Bathurst Plains. 

A settlement was formed, and Evans, making this 
the base of operations, started again on his travels. 
When another river flowing west was discovered, the 


belief gained favour that thetwostreams emptied them- 
selves into a great mediterranean sea. A party was 
formed under Surveyor-General Oxley to test the 
hypothesis, but, after following the course of first one 
and then the other river, it was found that they only 
led into uninviting swamps. The spirit of exploration 
had been aroused by Wentworth's success, and in 
1 8 14 a lad named Hamilton Hume and his brother, 
attended by a native, traversed the country around 
Berrima, reaching the tablelands more to the south. 
Three years later Hume and Meehan found Lakes 
George and Bathurst and the Goulburn Plains, so 
that the area of lands suitable for both pastoral and 
agricultural expansion appeared practically un- 
limited. The knowledge of the coastline was also 
being perfected by Captain Phillip P. King, a son 
of the Governor of that name, and Allan Cunning- 
ham, a botanist, who between 18 17 and 1820 were 
constantly at work in the cutter Mermaid. It 
was supposed that Lake Bathurst had some outlet 
leading to the sea, and an effort to decide the 
point led to one of those catastrophes from which 
fortunately the explorers of this period were ex- 
ceptionally free. Captain Stewart set out in a boat 
with a few followers to seek along the coast the 
expected opening, but in Twofold Bay the boat 
was lost, and the whole party, while trying to 
reach Sydney overland, was cut off and murdered by 
the natives. The colonists lost no time in turning 
the discoveries to practical account, sheep and cattle 
being driven out on the new pastures in all directions. 
With the extension of settlement their troubles with 


the natives increased, though in most instances the 
Europeans were the aggressors. Far from control, 
the worst passions of a degraded class had full play, 
and brutal outrages on natives were of common 
occurrence, provoking terrible acts of retaliation from 
the tribe of those wronged. The natives, finding the 
animals on which they subsisted becoming scarce in 
the country invaded by the settlers, committed thefts 
of corn, vegetables, and stock from the farms, and, in 
order to punish them, raids were organised by the 
colonists, in which every native they met was indiscri- 
minately butchered. Men, women, and children, quite 
innocent of the offence, were ruthlessly shot down, if 
not at the instigation, at any rate with the tacit con- 
sent, of the Government. It is true that Macquarie 
made some half-hearted attempts to civilise the 
blacks by establishing a school for native children 
at Parramatta and holding annual conferences with 
the chiefs ; but woebetide all those who neglected to 
obey his invitation or commands, for an order went 
forth that they should be captured or " destroyed " as 
soon as found. At intervals a small military force 
was despatched to " disperse " a more than usually 
turbulent tribe, and the race, who had for so long 
dwelt in the land, rapidly vanished before the hand 
of the white man. 

The events which caused Macquarie's rule to be 
one of the most important periods in the history of 
Australia are connected with the change which was 
taking place in the composition of the community, 
for both Bligh and Macquarie owed their downfall in 
a great degree to their inability to cope with a social 


problem which had not presented itself with anything 
approaching the same force to the other governors. 
As the numbers of those who had become free by 
pardon or servitude increased, they became a new 
and important factor in society, and the question 
arose as to what position this new class was to 
occupy. Did a pardon or the expiration of a 
sentence completely wipe out all former disgrace, or 
was every man who had been convicted to be 
regarded by the law and by society as tainted for all 

Bligh does not seem to have had any very strong 
opinions on these points, although by his actions 
he favoured the emancipists ; but Macquarie's whole 
conduct was guided by the determination to, if 
possible, raise those, who had expiated their misdeeds, 
to the position which they had originally occupied 
in life. The colony, as he pointed out, had been 
established in a large measure in the hope of reform- 
ing as well as punishing the criminal, and the value 
of reformation would be incomplete were not restitu- 
tion the reward of repentance. On the other hand, 
those opposed to this principle urged that, were ex- 
convicts permitted to occupy posts of honour and 
reward, transportation would lose half its value as a 
deterrent from crime ; that as a matter of fact the 
emancipist class was mainly composed of those who 
showed no spirit of repentance for past sins and 
often led openly shameless and debauched lives ; 
that it was impossible for those who had never 
been stained with crime to associate or permit their 
children to associate with men who had suffered the 


degradation of conviction. Do what you would, they 
asserted, those who had felt the clutch of the law 
could never be free, there was always that one 
little letter, which called up all the past, and 
the free firmly refused to accept the freed as their 

In the case of Bligh the field was clear, and it 
is not probable that, had he used discrimination in 
the selection of the emancipists whom he wished to 
employ or favour, his efforts to rehabilitate the de- 
serving would have excited any serious opposition. 
Unfortunately his choice was guided not so much 
by personal merit as by utility. Macquarie, however, 
was encumbered from the outset by the disreputable 
proteges of his predecessor. First espousing their 
cause under the direct influence of Bligh, he was 
unwilling to admit that he had been duped, and 
clung with stubborn persistence to those whose 
actions, he himself was compelled to admit, marked 
them as the most despicable of mankind. By this 
means he placed a weapon in the hands of his 
opponents ; they were enabled to disregard the just 
aspirations of the emancipated as a class, when the 
reputations of those selected by the Governor as 
representatives of that class stank in the not too 
sensitive nostrils of the community. Macquarie's 
methods were unfortunate. He hurled commands 
and threats broadcast about matters which should 
have been approached with delicacy and tact. His 
efforts to force his emancipist friends into the society 
of free men first provoked the military to insult 
them, and then led him into serious quarrels with 


Marsden, who refused to sit with them on the bench 
or as co-trustee, and ElHs Bent, who dechned to 
allow them to practice in his court. The first-named 
should have been a valuable councillor, and the 
second, as judge of the newly-created Supreme Court, 
which had superseded the old military tribunal in 
1 8 14, was the most important official in the colony 
next to the Governor himself The emancipists, by 
fulsome flattery and ostentatious gratitude played 
upon a character naturally vain, until Macquarie, 
in the heat of the strife, disappointed by his 
failure to reform those who had fallen beyond the 
reach of help, was led into extravagances which it is 
hard to believe he would have committed, had not 
his judgment been greatly warped. Tales of 
strange doings in the colony had been finding their 
way to England for some time, but the crisis came 
when the Governor ordered some persons who had 
never been bond to be flogged by the public casti- 
gator without trial, for trespassing in the grounds of 
Government House. The punishment was carried 
out, but both in the colony and in England it was 
seen that the time had come when a stop must be 
put to the vagaries of the Governor. 

In 1 81 8 a special commissioner, Mr. Bigge, 
was despatched to make a searching inquiry into 
the condition of the colony and the general ad- 
ministration of the Government, and on receipt 
of his report in 1821 Macquarie was recalled. Al- 
though he had failed to re-organise society, and 
crime and vice were still appallingly prevalent at 
his departure, the colony had grown enormously 



in wealth, population, and importance. The settle- 
ment, on which he so reluctantly turned his back 
in February, 1822, was a very different place 
from that which he had approached with such 
benevolent intentions twelve years before. 




The reports of Mr. Commissioner Bigge had 
attracted a good deal of attention in England, and 
the Government determined to reform the adminis- 
tration of New South Wales in accordance with his 
recommendations. As Bigge had been compelled to 
condemn in a great measure the policy of Macquarie, 
it was clearly impossible to use that gentleman as the 
instrument with which to carry out the changes ; Sir 
Thomas Brisbane, a man of less pronounced views, 
was therefore selected for the duty. Brisbane arrived 
in November, 1821, but, pending the determination of 
the new constitution, then under consideration, he 
attempted no important reforms but contented him- 
self with gradually weeding the public offices of the 
most undesirable of the emancipists who had been 
appointed by his predecessor. In the unsettled state 
of affairs he was particularly anxious to avoid being 
drawn into the class quarrels which so deeply troubled 
the community, and for a time he escaped, by retiring 
to Parramatta, where an observatory was built and he 


was able to devote himself with but little interruption 
to his favourite science, astronomy. The changes 
which were made in the constitution, however, com- 
pelled him before long to return to Sydney and take 
his part in the turmoil of political life. 

The New South Wales Judicature Act received the 
Royal Assent in July, 1823, and embodied most of 
Bigge's suggestions. A Supreme Court and Court of 
Record was established and the jury principle was 
introduced, the qualification being fixed at 50 acres or 
a dwelling worth ;^300. A Legislative Council of not 
more than seven nor less than five members, nomi- 
nated by the Crown, was created, but the actions of 
the Governor were left untrammelled and he could 
do whatever seemed to him best irrespective of the 
advice of the Council. Should it disapprove the 
course followed, its objections were to be recorded 
and transmitted to England where a final decision 
would be madcc It was provided that no tax should 
be imposed for other than local purposes, the power 
of the Governor to levy duties was confirmed, and 
sundry other matters were dealt with connected with 
details of administration. 

The Chief Justice under the new Act was Mr. 
Francis Forbes, who had served on the Bench in 
Newfoundland, and Mr. Saxe-Bannister was ap- 
pointed first "Attorney-General. Both gentlemen 
arrived early in 1824, and a court was opened with- 
out delay. The advent of Forbes, who was a man 
of strong feelings, soon caused the Governor to 
become involved in one of the disputes which so 
frequently took place between the more prominent 


members of the community. Marsden alleged that 
a Dr. Douglas had committed very serious irregu- 
larities in his capacity of magistrate, and Douglas 
responded by charging Marsden with cruelty and 
excessive severity on the Bench. 

Brisbane, under the influence of Forbes, took an 
active part in the strife, which waxed fiercer and 
fiercer until the air was full of recriminations. 
The Attorney-General recommended and Marsden 
demanded that the whole question should be investi- 
gated, but the Chief Justice, who had more friendship 
for than faith in Douglas, did not desire an inquiry. 
He therefore persuaded the Governor to introduce a 
Bill to indemnify magistrates for actions committed 
" in the execution of their office." Saxe-Bannister 
was instructed to draft the Bill, but declined to have 
any hand in a measure to indemnify so horrible a 
practice as torture to extort confession, and Brisbane 
was compelled to seek assistance elsewhere. The 
Bill eventually became law, but the successful attempt 
to burke inquiry into charges of such gravity created 
a profound impression and excited on all sides ex- 
pressions of strong disapprobation. One of the chief 
parts of Bigge's scheme was the introduction of free 
immigrants who could be settled on the soil, to 
whom convicts could be safely entrusted, thercb}^ 
removing the necessity for the employment of large 
gangs of criminals in the towns. Grants of land and 
servants were offered to persons willing to come to 
Australia, and during Brisbane's administration large 
numbers of young men arrived, for the most part 
possessed of capital, who at once engaged in pastoral 


pursuits. Great progress was made and the country 
rapidly became covered with the increasing flocks and 
herds of the colonists. The distribution of the popula- 
tion oyer such a large area, however, bred some evils. 
Convicts frequently escaped, and two or three, banding 
themselves together, committed horrible crimes and 
lived by plundering the farms of the settlers. At 
length the robbers became such a serious scourge that 
it was necessary to enrol a special force to protect the 
sparsely populated districts, and the mounted police 
were formed from the regiments in the colony. By 
their perfect discipline and great courage they did 
yeoman service, and for some time successfully held 
the bushrangers in check. 

The immigration of free settlers soon produced an 
effect upon society, and New South Wales became 
less and less like an overgrown gaol. The relative 
importance of the emancipated class was reduced, and 
the introduction of an instalment of free institutions 
rendered the administration of justice less capricious 
and the rights of the inhabitants more secure. But 
Brisbane and his Council, in their eagerness to 
welcome the salutary change, took a step which the 
Governor within twelve months regretted, and which 
created inextricable difficulties for his successor. 
The only newspaper in the colonies when Brisbane 
arrived was the Sydney Gazette, a semi-official organ 
and the medium of all Government announcements, 
all contributions being carefully scrutinised by 
the authorities previous to publication. In 
October, 1824, Brisbane came to the conclusion 
that the censorship of the press could be safely 


abolished, and issued a general order to that effect. 
Almost immediately other prints sprang into life, 
the most prominent being the Monitor and the 
Australasian, in the columns of which William 
Charles Wentworth, who had recently returned from 
England after being called to the Bar, and another 
barrister. Dr. Wardell, warmly espoused the eman- 
cipist cause, and gave voice, often in immoderate 
tones, to the demand for still further concessions in 
the direction of popular government. So violent 
were the writings in these papers and so dangerous 
their influence upon the minds of the convicts that 
Brisbane, in January, 1825, less than four months 
after the concession of freedom, felt it necessary to 
obtain the consent of the Secretary of State to the 
enactment of some measure which would bring the 
press again under the control of the Government; but 
before Lord Bathurst's answer was received Brisbane 
had resigned office, and Sir Ralph Darling had been 
appointed in his stead. 

The new Governor arrived in December, 1825, and 
his first act of importance was an attempt to deal 
with the newspaper question. He was instructed to 
legislate at the earliest opportunity for the control of 
the press, making an annual license a preliminary to 
publication. By the constitution of 1823 it had been 
provided that no Bill could become law until the 
certificate of the Chief Justice had been obtained to 
the effect that the proposed measure was not repug- 
nant to the laws of England. But Forbes, whose 
sympathies were with the cause advocated by the 
Australasian, hesitated to certify to a Bill directly 


aimed at that paper. At last, when it became plain 
that the necessary certificate could not be obtained 
for the Bill as sketched by the Secretary of State, 
Darling laid before his council two measures with the 
same object, to which however he hoped Forbes 
would have no objection. The first prescribed certain 
penalties for the publication of seditious or blas- 
phemous matter, and the second imposed a duty on 
newspapers sufficient to raise its price to a figure 
beyond the reach of the greater part of the convict 
population. Both Acts were passed by the Council 
and promulgated, but in each instance Forbes refused 
to certify, and they had to be suspended. This action 
of the Chief Justice was severely criticised by the 
council and free settlers, and the newspapers which 
had so narrowly escaped burst forth with new vigour 
and violence. " You can have no idea," wrote 
Macarthur to his son in England, " of the operation of 
these firebrand papers upon the common people, and 
every one not connected with the convict interest 
admits that the most dangerous consequences are to 
be dreaded." The Governor, realising the impotence 
of his position as far as new legislation went, resolved 
to make an effort to curb the unbridled licence of the 
press by means already in existence, and instituted 
prosecutions for libel or slander whenever an oppor- 
tunity occurred. But this only called forth more 
revilings from the papers, and the Government was 
drawn into an unseemly and violent wrangle, dis- 
creditable alike to Darling and the journalists. The 
ultimate results of these disputes will be dealt with 
presently, but it is necessary first to refer to some 


events of no small importance which occurred at this 

In 1828 an amending Constitution Act was passed, 
the principal provisions of which were the abolition 
of the grand jury and the enactment that all offenders 
should be " prosecuted by information in the name of 
His Majesty's Attorney-General." The small council 
formed in 1823 was enlarged to fifteen members, and 
the scope of its legislative powers extended, while the 
necessity of obtaining the Chief Justice's certificate, 
which had caused so much trouble in the case of 
the Newspaper Acts, was removed. Darling at once 
introduced a Bill differing but little from the Act of 
1827. The measure was certainly calculated to pre- 
vent seditious publications, but the provisions were 
ridiculously harsh and were modified a few years later 
at the instance of the Home Government. 

The jury question was early dealt with by this new 
council, and a law passed excluding emancipists from 
serving in criminal trials, thus settling for the time 
the much vexed point of their eligibility to act as 
jurymen. By a rule of Court in the same year the 
professions of barrister and attorney were formally 
divided, and regulations governing admission to them 
first drawn up. Perhaps the best index of the 
growing wants of the community at this period 01 
social development is afforded by the constant 
changes effected in the methods of administering 
justice ; as the free population increased the 
machinery of the law was correspondingly elaborated. 

The punishment of a murderer named Worrell was 
brought about in 1826 by such a curious sequence of 


events that it is worthy of special mention. Frederick 
Fisher, a freed convict, who Hved at Campbell Town 
with Worrell, and was reputed to be possessed of 
considerable property, suddenly disappeared, and 
Worrell caused it to be supposed that he had gone to 
England. Worrell sold off Fisher's property and no 
one seems to have suspected foul play till one, Farley, 
declared that he had seen Fisher's ghost sitting on a 
rail not far from his old home. Oddly enough this 
story obtained listeners, and a police constable with 
two natives were set searching in the neighbourhood of 
the spot at which the vision was said to have appeared. 
Blood, was found on the rail picked out by Farley as 
the ghost's seat, and one of the native blacks follow- 
ing the direction in which the ghost was said to have 
pointed went into a pool and, to quote the words of 
the constable's evidence, " took a cornstalk which he 
passed over the surface of the water, and put it to his 
nose," and said he "smelt the fat of a white man." 
The blacks then followed the creek leading from the 
pool till they came to a branch creek up which they 
went some little way when one of them put a rod 
into the ground and said, " There's something wrong 
here," Sure enough at this spot the body of Fisher 
was found. Worrell was tried and convicted, confessed 
to the murder, and was hanged ; but no satisfactory 
explanation of the apparition and the other strange 
circumstances attending the case has ever been 

The flow of free immigration which commenced in 
1822, continued unabated for the first few years of 
Darling's administration, and as a consequence the 


question of land grants called for attention. In 1826, 
regulations were framed with the object of rendering 
the support of assigned servants equivalent to pay- 
ments for land ; and in 1828, a Board was appointed 
to assist the Governor in dealing with the numerous 
applications which poured in. These reforms, com- 
bined with the discoveries of new and fertile territory, 
gave even greater impetus to pastoral settlement. 
The demand by the colonists became heavier than 
the supply, and one after another of the Government 
farms, which only a few years before had been all 
that stood between the population and famine, were 
broken up. The distribution of the bond over so 
large an area did much to check the horrible crimi- 
nality which characterised the large gangs employed 
by Macquarie on the roads and public buildings. 

In 1827, the mania for speculation in land and 
stock had become excessive, and cattle were sold for 
utterly fictitious prices. Unfortunately 1828 and the 
two following years were exceptionally dry. Grass 
and crops failed, stock died, and prices came tumbling 
down even lower than circumstances warranted. Free 
emigration abruptly ceased. The convicts' rations 
had to be reduced, and the colony passed through a 
severe commercial crisis. When rain came in 1830 
the recovery was almost as violent as the disease, and 
farmers were unable to reap their crops owing to 
their inability to obtain sufficient labourers. But the 
days of scarcity left a legacy of crime, and bush- 
ranging assumed such serious dimensions that special 
legislation was necessary. Donohue and his gang 
infested the districts round Sydney, and in other parts 


of the country bands of robbers terrorised the settlers. 
On the 2 1st of April, 1830, the situation seemed so 
grave that the Council passed a Bushrangers Act 
through all its stages in one day, conferring extra- 
ordinary power on magistrates, and making other 
provisions which practically placed the country 
■ for the time almost under martial law. 

According to Macarthur the effects of the Act 
were magical ; but another enactment, the News- 
paper Act already mentioned, passed in the same 
year, did not meet with equal approval ; and it was in 
a large measure the hostility created by it against 
the Governor that eventually brought about his 
recall. Although this was the cause, the particular 
event which was made the occasion of complaint was 
the alteration by the Governor of a sentence passed 
upon two soldiers named Sudds and Thompson. 
Soon after Darling's arrival he discovered that the 
prosperity of the emancipated convicts had filled 
their guards with envy, and that self-mutilations and 
the perpetration of crimes were common among the 
soldiery, who hoped thereby to escape further service 
and enter the happy ranks of the convicted. Two 
men who had mutilated themselves were sent by 
Darling's order to an out-station instead of being 
discharged, and a little later when two other soldiers. 
Sudds and Thompson, committed an offence with 
the avowed intention of escaping by transpor- 
tation from the regiment and joining the convicts 
in Tasmania, Darling thought it high time to put a 
stop to such practices. The penalty of transportation 
was altered to labour on the roads in chains, a 


sentence which did not relieve the men from further 
military service on its completion, and they were 
drummed out of the regiment in irons and the convict 
garb. Darling was unfortunate in the persons he 
selected as examples. Sudds, overcome by mortifica- 
tion at his failure and the ignominy of his punishment, 
appears to have deliberately moped and starved him- 
self to death. Sudds's fate was after several years 
seized upon by Darling's enemies as grounds for 
impeachment, and Wentworth in 1829, wrote a letter 
to the Secretary of State with that object. Mean- 
while the local opposition press denounced the 
Governor's brutality and barbarous cruelty, and 
made assertions as to the weight of the irons and 
other particulars which were certainly not in accord- 
ance with fact. After numerous inquiries, in all of 
which Darling was acquitted absolutely of any im- 
proper conduct, the farce reached a climax in the 
appointment of a select committee of the House of 
Commons to investigate the charges. On this oc- 
casion also, although every one who had ever had a 
grievance against Darling hastened to bring charges, 
the conduct of the Governor was pronounced to have 
been " entirely free from blame." But before these 
events Darling had been recalled, and had left the 
colony without much regret. His departure was 
made the occasion for a display of rejoicing by his 
enemies which was much more discreditable to them- 
selves than to the object of their spleen. 

During the rule of Brisbane and Darling the work 
of exploration went on steadily. The Goulburn 
river was discovered in 1822 during an attempt to 


reach the Liverpool plains ; and in the following years 
Captain Currie and Major Ovens struck the Murrum- 
bidgee, and by following its course found the fertile 
district of Monaroo, while the indefatigable Allan 
Cunningham discovered the much-desired stock route 
to the Liverpool plains. 

Although the coast to the southward of Sydney 
had been explored and charted by Flinders and 
others, the country inland remained quite unknown. 
In 1824, Sir Thomas Brisbane, in order to induce 
exploration, suggested that a party of convicts should 
be put ashore at Wilson's Promontory, and that a free 
pardon should be offered to those who successfully 
travelled to Sydney overland, Hamilton Hume, a 
young man born in the colony, being offered command 
of the expedition. This he declined, but at the same 
time consented to start from Sydney and journey 
overland to the south. His services were accepted, 
and a sailor named Hovell having volunteered to go 
with him, the two explorers set out from Lake George 
with six convicts and a large supply of provisions 
which they carried in two carts drawn by teams of 
bullocks. Until the Murrumbidgee was reached 
all went well, but the river was broader and the 
current stronger than they had expected to meet ; 
crossing with difficulty by covering the bottoms 
of the carts with the tarpaulins, they converted 
them in this way into punts in which the stores 
were safely ferried. The men and oxen had to swim, 
but all reached the opposite bank without mishap 
and once more pushed forward. Soon the country 
on their line of march became so rough and thickly 


timbered that the waggons were abandoned and the 
oxen loaded instead. For days their way led 
through forest so dense that little of the surrounding 
country could be seen, but occasionally they caught 
a glimpse of the snowy peaks of mountains on their 
left. Perseveringly they journeyed on and at length 
came to the banks of another river which is now 
known as the Murray. Again boats were improvised, 
this time of wickerwork, covered with the tarpaulins 
and the obstacles successfully overcome. The 
country was now more open, and holding their course 
south-west they struck first the Ovens and then the 
Goulburn rivers. They had now travelled far and 
expected each day to come to the open sea, but time 
slipped by and there was no change in the view of 
eucalyptus-clad hills which stretched around them on 
all sides as far as the eye could see. At last the 
two leaders espying a more than usually lofty peak, 
not far off, left the remainder of the party to rest a 
few days in camp, and after encountering enormous 
difficulties reached the summit of the mountain from 
which they hoped to sight the waters of the Southern 
Ocean. Their hearts failed them when looking to the 
south nothing met their gaze but endless gum trees 
stretching away into the distance ; and, naming the 
place Mount Disappointment, they turned back and 
rejoined their comrades at the camp. It was decided 
to still push on, although in a slightly different 
direction, and the weary travellers were in a few days 
rewarded by the sight of what appeared to be a great 
lake lying beyond beautifully grassy and park-like 
country. Hovell declared that they had arrived at 


Western Port, but Hume persisted that the bay was 
Port Phillip, and, as the two leaders both adhered to 
their opinion, a serious quarrel arose which still 
raged when the return journey to Sydney had been 
accomplished, and the leaders had been rewarded 
with grants of land and the rest of their party with 

When between 1826 and 1828 a long stretch of 
exceptional drought had been experienced, it occurred 
to Darling that the marshes, which had so baffled 
Oxley when he had attempted to explore the country 
round the river Macquarie, would now probably be 
dried up, and an expedition would be able to 
penetrate the interior. He therefore appointed a 
party comprising Captain Stuart, Hume, two soldiers, 
and eight convicts to undertake the work. They 
were provided with portable boats with which it was 
expected they would be able to navigate the river, 
but on reaching the point at which Oxley had turned 
back, they found nothing but nauseous mud flats, and 
parched cracking ground from which the rushes grew 
so thickly that even with the greatest exertion it 
was almost impossible to make any headway. They 
therefore turned to the west, and after travelling 
through a level and uninteresting country in which 
there were evidences of frequent floods, they at length 
reached a river which they named the Darling, in 
honour of the Governor. For about ninety miles they 
followed its course, and then turning towards Sydney 
retraced their steps. 

In the following year, Stuart again set forth, and 
this time took his portable boats to the Murrumbidgee, 


where he, with Macleay as naturalist and eight con- 
victs, embarked, and rowed steadily down the river. 
After an eventful voyage, during which they were in 
constant danger of being wrecked on snags, or cap- 
sized by the rapid current, they shot forth on to a 
broad river, the clear waters of which flowed gently 
over a sandy bottom ; they drifted down-stream 
during the day, and at sunset moored their boats 
to the bank, and formed a camp on shore. They 
had frequent intercourse with the natives at almost 
every point where they touched, but with the 
exception of some petty thefts no hostility was 
.shown towards them, and they always left the 
black fellows on the most friendly terms. After 
following the course of the Murray for about two 
hundred miles below the point at which they had 
emerged from the branch stream, they came to the 
junction of another large river flowing from the north ; 
this was not explored, as a short distance up they 
found a fence erected across the river, apparently to 
catch fish, and as Stuart was anxious not to displease 
the natives he turned down stream again, and allowed 
himself to drift further with the current. Eventually 
the boat floated out on to a broad lagoon, which they 
called Lake Alexandria, but on crossing it they dis- 
covered that the entrance from the ocean was blocked 
by an impassable bar. Drifting down-stream was one 
thing, but pulling back against the current quite 
another, and, when day after day had to be spent 
wearily at the heavy oars a broiling sun, the 
crew got thinner and thinner and more despondent, 
until at last one man went mad, and it was only by 


the greatest exertion that Stuart could prevent the 
rest of his companions from throwing down their 
oars and giving themselves up to despair. At last, 
after a journey which seemed a life-time, they arrived 
in occupied country once more, and rested at some 
of the homesteads on the banks of the Murrumbidgee 
until they were so far recovered as to be able to return 
to Sydney. Two years later Major Mitchell suggested 
that he should lead an expedition to the far north- 
west, but an unfortunate affray with the natives 
resulted in the death of two of his men and the loss 
of his stores, so that a hasty retreat had to be made 
to the point of departure. In 1835 another attempt 
was made to pierce the interior, but on this occasion 
again it had to be abandoned, owing to the murder 
of Cunningham, the botanist of the party, and the 
determined hostility of the natives who barred further 
progress. Having failed in a north-westerly direction, 
in 1836 Major Mitchell started to the south. Follow- 
ing the Lachlan to its junction with the Murrumbidgee, 
he formed a depot, from which excursions were made 
into the surrounding country, but here again his 
operations were seriously impeded by attacks from 
large bodies of natives. At length Mitchell crossed 
the Murray and entered a country so fertile and 
beautiful that he was unable to adequately express 
his praise of it. Passing along the Grampians he 
came to the river Glenelg, and here launching the 
portable boats which they had brought with them 
the party drifted down-stream. The scenery on either 
side was exquisite, and the vegetation most luxuriant ; 
but they were stopped eventually, as Stuart had been. 



by a sandy bar which blocked the mouth of the river, 
and, having landed, they went a little way to the east 
along the shore, and then turning back traversed the 
country towards Portland Bay. Here, to Mitchell's 
astonishment, he suddenly came upon a house with 
all the signs of prosperity and occupation about it, 
while a small vessel rode at anchor in the bay. This 
turned out to be the settlement of the brothers Henty, 
who were the first colonists who crossed to the Port 
Phillip district from Van Diemen's Land. Mitchell, 
after having rested, ascended Mount Macedon from 
which he was able to view the park-like expanse 
which induced him to name the district " Australia 




On the 31-d of December, 1831, Sir Richard Bourke 
landed and was presented with numerous addresses 
more or less extravagant in tone. The unpopularity 
of Darling with a section of the community caused 
the welcome to his successor to be exceptionally 
cordial. The new governor was, however, a man 
of ability ; fulsome flattery combined with abuse 
of his predecessor failed to make him commit him- 
self to either the " emancipist " or the " exclusive " 
parties. There were several matters of considerable 
importance to be dealt with foremost amongst which 
was the question of finance. 

Bourke at once endeavoured to fall in with the 
views of Wentworth and his party on this point, and 
when he met his council for the first time in January, 
1832, he expressed the intention of in future submit- 
ting estimates of expenditure. A further concession 
to Wentworth was made by an extension of the jury 

law ; but, when in the following year Bourke wished 



to permit juries in criminal trials, his measure was 
only carried by the Governor's casting vote, the old 
question of the admission and exclusion of the eman- 
cipated being revived with all its accompaniments of 
party feeling. 

Bushranging, although checked by the extraordi- 
nary powers conferred on the police and magistrates, 
was still not uncommon, and violent outrages were 
occasionally committed close to the centres of popu- 
lation. The Bushranging Act, which had been 
passed during the rule of Darling, was about to 
expire in 1832, and the Governor recoiled from what 
appeared to him the unnecessarily severe provisions 
which it contained ; but the opinion was unanimously 
expressed by the magistrates that it should be renewed, 
while a select committee of the council went further, 
and recommended that some of the provisions should 
be made even more stringent. 

But measures of harsh suppression were repugnant 
to Bourke's nature, and although in this instance he 
yielded to those in whose memory the deeds which 
produced the Act were still fresh, he attempted to 
improve the condition of the bond population by 
passing a law to regulate and lessen the severity of 
the punishments which could be inflicted by magis- 
trates on assigned servants, and encouraged thrift 
among those of the convicts who were earning 
money, by permitting them to make deposits in 
the Savings Bank, on the condition that nothing 
could be withdrawn without the Governor's written 

Wentvvorth and his friends recognised the humanity 


which inspired Bourke's measures, and consequently 
gave him their support ; but in the concession with 
regard to estimates of expenditure a fresh opening 
was afforded for agitation in favour of responsible 
government. In 1833 a public meeting was convened 
at which Wentworth held forth on the subject of taxa- 
tion only by representative assembly. He urged his 
audience on this occasion to " demand the right the 
common law gives you, but which an iniquitous 
parliament, an unreformed parliament, has for forty- 
five years withheld from you." It is needless to say 
that his eloquence was greeted with applause, and if 
to any one the ludicrous picture of Phillip presiding 
over the deliberation of his ironed subjects presented 
itself, he refrained from calling attention to the 
absurdity of Wentworth's assertion. The greatest 
enthusiasm prevailed, and a petition to King and 
Commons was carried, while at a subsequent meeting 
the Governor and his council were also addressed. In 
the following year Wentworth convened another 
meeting, and the House of Commons was again 
petitioned, but meanwhile the Patriotic Association, 
of which Wentworth was the mouthpiece, had been 
active in its efforts to influence the British Parliament 
in favour of the autonomy of the colony. A few 
years later the criticisms of finance took more con- 
crete shape, and the attack was directed to pensions 
of imperial officers paid out of colonial funds and the 
annual charge for police and gaols. Wentworth con- 
tended that as the persons who needed supervision 
and punishment were British convicts. Great Britain 
should pay the greater part of the expense. Up to 


1834 the charge had been borne by the mihtary chest, 
but in that year the Governor was directed by the 
Secretary of State to make the necessary provision 
out of the colonial revenues. The moment chosen 
for the change was inopportune, for the cost of police 
and gaols had increased rapidly in recent years, and 
the movement in favour of the criticism of finance 
was at its height. All through the remainder of 
Bourke's administration the police and gaol question 
continued to be a popular cry with reformers. 

As the population became larger, governors ceased 
to take such a personal interest in the social and 
moral condition of their subjects individually, but 
Bourke's attention was drawn to the urgent necessity 
of doing something to improve the morality of the 
community. One of the judges of the Supreme Court, 
Burton, addressed the jury at the termination of the 
sittings of the Criminal Court in 1835 on the great 
prevalence of crime, producing statistics to show how 
serious was the condition of the settlement from a 
moral point of view. The picture drawn was indeed 
a terrible one, and the Governor sought a remedy in 
the moral police, education and religion. An attempt 
was made to inaugurate a policy of state aid to 
undenominational schools on the lines of the Irish 
National School system ; but this was not what the 
various religious bodies wanted, and such violent 
opposition was aroused that Bourke abandoned the 
idea. Although a system of unsectarian education 
was for the present unattainable, it was still possible 
to establish religious equality. Up to this time the 
Church of England had, as in the mother country, 


received special consideration, although other bodies 
had been helped from the public funds ; but Bourke 
distributed aid both for stipends and buildings to all 
denominations impartially. A marked revival both 
in religion and education was the result, and, although 
in later years the ecclesiastical expenditure became a 
serious burthen on the country's treasury, the improve- 
ment produced was worth the money spent. In spite 
of Bourke's tact and care he at last became entangled 
in the old feud between the emancipists and free 
inhabitants. The assigned servants of a Mr. Mudie. 
a magistrate, seized arms, committed a few violent 
acts, and left their employ. They were captured and 
convicted, but denounced the cruelty of the treatment 
to which they alleged that they had been subjected. 
The case called forth much comment, and a pamphlet 
signed " Humanitas " attacked magistrates and all 
masters of assigned convicts in no measured terms. 
Possibly the fact that there was some foundation 
in many instances for the charges preferred by 
'* Humanitas " caused all the greater display of anger 
and resentment by the class aspersed. At any rate, 
when it at last became known that a convict named 
Watt, who occupied an editorial position on the 
Sydney Gazette, a newspaper which usually warmly 
supported Bourke, was the author, he was vigorously 
denounced, and, as Watt led a notoriously immoral 
life, the magistrates saw an opening for retaliation. 
Complaints regarding Watt were made to the 
Governor ; but Bourke declined to interfere, till 
charges having been brought against the offender in 
the magistrates' court, and his case being referred to 


the Governor, he was compelled to take some action. 
Throughout the case, Mr. Roger Therry had taken 
a prominent part in support both of Mudie's ser- 
vants and Watt, and had consequently made him- 
self obnoxious to the magistracy. It so happened 
that the position of chairman of Quarter Sessions 
fell vacant about this time, and some one had to be 
elected by the magistrates to fill the place. Bourke 
nominated Therry, but the magistrates supported Mr. 
C. D. Riddell, treasurer and a member of the Execu- 
tive Council. Bourke warned Riddell that he could 
not hold the positions together, but Riddell still 
remained a candidate, and was duly elected. Bourke 
at once suspended him from the Council, and in 
reporting the matter to the Secretary of State ex- 
pressed a desire to resign if his action was not sup- 
ported. The suspension was disallowed, and Riddell 
again took his seat in the Council, but Bourke, 
although urged to retain his office, persisted in his 
resignation and was relieved. 

The enormous growth of pastoral occupation, which 
had taken place in consequence of Bigge's report, and 
a fuller knowledge and appreciation of the country's 
resources had caused a demand for labour, which even 
the constant inflow of convicts was insufficient to 
satisfy ; at the same time the increase of the free and 
freed population, which had for long been steadily 
going on, threatened shortly an undesirable competi- 
tion between the forced labour of the bond and free- 
wage earners. This last aspect of the question 
caused those who so earnestly desired to see transpor- 
tation altogether abolished to support the proposal to 


assist free labourers to come to Australia ; for in the 
introduction of immigrants, whose interests would be 
diametrically opposed to any increase in the number 
of assigned servants, they saw a weapon ready to their 
hands. Various impracticable schemes for raising 
funds with which to encourage emigration from 
Great Britain to the colony were put forward, and 
shortly before Bourke's arrival commissioners had 
been appointed to deal with the whole question. 
As a result of their labours it was determined to 
use the money obtained by the sale of Crown 
lands as an immigration fund, and to pay half 
the cost of a passage to Australia to all suitable 
persons who might desire to settle in New South 

In 1 83 1, during the administration of Bourke, free 
grants of land were discontinued, and all the un- 
occupied portions of the colony were in future only 
to be parted with at five shillings per acre. Under 
this new arrangement the land revenue grew rapidly, . 
and during the five years between 1832 and 1836 
increased from ;^i 3,684 to £i^2,6oy. Unfortunately 
the funds were not expended with discretion at 
the commencement. Females were most urgently 
required in the colony, so the first step taken in 
the new departure was the creation of a Female 
Emigration Board in London, to which the selection 
and despatch of the emigrants, from whom so much 
was hoped, was exclusively entrusted. But either 
from carelessness or inefficiency on the part of those 
to whom the selection was delegated, the persons 
sent out were, for the most part, of a character which 


not only made them quite worthless as reformatory 
examples, but greatly increased the difficulties of 
future purification. New South Wales was, in fact, 
made the dumping ground for all the unconvicted as 
well as the convicted criminals of the United Kingdom. 
Nor had the importation of such labour as was really 
required been attended to, and consequently em- 
ployers were compelled to bring coolies, Chinese, and 
South Sea islanders to New South Wales at their own 
expense ; while the public moneys of the colony 
were being expended on the passages of undesirable 
women. In 1837, however, this maladministration 
was rectified by the then Secretary of State for the 
Colonies ; and several ships full of respectable free 
labourers and farmers were despatched at the ex- 
pense of the land fund which had now accumulated 
to a considerable sum. The new arrivals were greedily 
looked for and warmly welcomed by the settlers, and 
all industrial pursuits revived amazingly. With the 
increase of enterprise, wages rose, and the standard of 
living was greatly improved. The thrifty and indus- 
trious found that, with the expenditure of the same 
amount of energy which was required at home to 
keep the wolf from the door, they could earn sufficient 
to live in comparative comfort and luxury. Glowing 
accounts went to England of the magnificent prospects 
of the colony, while the demands of the increased and 
more industrious population caused a rapid expansion 
of trade and commerce. The eyes of European 
capitalists were attracted to Australia as a possible 
field for the profitable investment of their money, 
and capital soon began to flow into the country 


with a stream relatively greater than even the stream 
pf immigration. 

There were already two large banks in existence — 
the Bank of New South Wales and the Bank of 
Australia ; now four new banks were established, 
to say nothing of other loan and trust companies. 
With increased facilities for borrowing came an 
increased desire to borrow, and enormous trans- 
actions in land and live stock took place all over the 
country, payment usually being made by long-dated 
bills on one or other of the banks. The prospects 
of the colony seemed excellent and fascinating, 
dreams of rapidly-acquired fortunes began to float 
before the eyes of farmer, pastoralist, and merchant 
alike. It is true that the harvests of 1838 and 1839 
were poor, and the colony had been suffering from 
one of the periodical droughts, while the great staple, 
wool, had experienced a heavy fall in price in London ; 
but the abundance of the following years only added 
to the rage for speculation. The Government, 
apparently not apprehending the unsound condition 
of business, would seem to have done everything 
in its power to heighten the fever and precipitate 
the crisis. 

For instance, the area of Crown lands offered for 
sale was very much restricted, so that the supply was 
in no way equal to the demand, even for genuine 
settlement, a course of action which unduly inflated 
prices and stimulated competition to an unhealthy 
extent. Then, again, the rate of interest demanded 
for Government deposits in the Banks was raised 
from 4 to 7 per cent, entailing a corresponding 


increase in the charges of these institutions to their 
customers, as well as a tendency to accept any 
security, provided an investment for their funds could 
be obtained. In this way advances were made in 
many cases far in excess of the value of the property 
mortgaged. An instance is quoted by a contem- 
poraneous writer of an estate on which ^10,000 had 
been lent by one of the companies, but which only 
brought in ;^I00 per annum to the mortgagees, after 
they had been compelled to take it over. Still, while 
the mania lasted, there was a great appearance of 
prosperity. Wages continued to rise, and every 
one, from the highest to the most humble, conducted 
their domestic affairs on much the same extravagant 
scale as the prevailing business transactions. For 
those who had no money, or very little, it was 
the simplest thing in the world to borrow it, of course 
with the assurance that the enormous prospective 
profits of the speculation entered upon, whatever it 
might be, would justify an immediate expenditure of 
a great deal more than the borrower then possessed. 
This sort of thing could not go on for long. The 
huge paper circulation had to be redeemed sooner 
or later, and although the confiding British capitalist 
might for some time be gulled into lending his money 
with no security, and only promises for interest, he 
was sure to awaken after a little while to the 
unsatisfactory character of his debtors. 

The signs of the coming storm were not long 
delayed. The Crown land sales fell off and ugly 
rumours were whispered from one corner of the 
colony to the other. At first the failures came one 


by one, but presently, in the year 1843, the whole 
unsubstantial fabric went with a crash and credit was 
completely destroyed. The men who had been 
living luxuriously on other people's money found 
themselves brought up with a round turn, and at 
once tried to realise what they could. Property upon 
property was forced into a market in which all were 
sellers and none buyers, and prices fell to ridiculous 
figures. The rebound was even more unreasonable 
than the inflation. Sheep were sold by the sheriff's 
officer for sixpence per head, and large stations near 
Yass and on the Hunter River sold, land and all, at 
the price of about three shillings per head for the 
sheep which were on them ; the same authority 
referred to above, quotes instances in which cattle 
bought at six guineas each were parted with for 
three and sixpence per head. Houses and personal 
property all went the same way. Carriages, which 
in the prosperous days had cost ;^I40, sold for ^^3, 
and were run as cabs by the servants of the late 

The Auction Duty returns throw a strong light 
on the extent of the general ruin. In 1837, at a time 
of inflated prices, sales amounting to ;^32 1,346 are 
recorded ; three years later, in spite of the enormous 
shrinkage in values, the figures stand at ^1,246,742, 
and it is asserted that, had the goods sold in 1840 
realised anything like their value in 1837, the sales 
by auction would have amounted to fully six millions 
sterling. The Bank of Australia was unable to 
withstand the storm and by its fall involved a very 
large number of persons, both shareholders and 


depositors ; at one time starvation was so near a 
section of the population that the Governor issued 
rations from the pubhc stores at less than cost 

The effects of the failure of the Bank of Australia 
threatened to be very serious, for its ramifications 
were great, and, in order to prevent " a panic which 
would annihilate the value of property," if the share- 
holders were called upon to meet the liabilities of 
the Bank, Wentworth introduced a Bill into the 
Council authorising the disposal of the property of 
the Bank by a lottery. The Bill was passed, and 
although the Royal assent was refused, the lottery 
was nevertheless held before the law officers could 
intervene to prevent it. Relief for the pastoral 
interest was found by Mr. O'Brien, who occupied a 
run in the Yass district. Sheep had practically 
ceased to have any market value ; but Mr. O'Brien 
discovered that a uniform price of about six shillings 
per head could be obtained by boiling them down 
for tallow, and this experiment was the commence- 
ment of a large and well-sustained trade. 

The treatment of the native races had become more 
and more brutal with the extension of occupation, until 
Sir George Gipps, who succeeded Bourke in February, 
1838, determined to mete out equal and indiscriminate 
justice to all, whether white or black. The abori- 
ginals were looked upon by the great bulk of settlers 
as little, if at all, better than wild beasts, and the 
shepherds and servants on the distant runs were 
in the habit of murdering black men, women, and 
children, without the smallest provocation. The 


Government had for so long disregarded these pro- 
ceedings that a profound sensation was created by 
the arrest and arraignment of eleven white men on a 
charge of murder in connection with the massacre at 
Myall Creek of between thirty and forty natives, more 
than half of whom were women and children. Seven 
of the offenders were hanged, and no stronger con- 
demnation of the existing state of affairs could be 
uttered than that pronounced by them when they 
sought to excuse themselves because " They were 
not aware that in killing blacks they were violating 
the law, as it had been so frequently done in the 
colony before." The Myall Creek massacre was 
only one of many similar barbarities which took 
place about this period, but it was the first event 
of the description which was dealt vnth in the 
Criminal Courts, and both Gipps and the judge 
who presided were abused in no measured terms 
by an indignant public for their share in the pro- 
ceedings. The state of public feeling is shown by 
the fact that the Governor's efforts to protect his 
black subjects were described by a leading news- 
paper as " drawling philanthropy and mawkish 
sentimentality." Great changes were made in the 
land laws in 1842. An Act was passed by the 
House of Commons directing that all lands should 
in future be sold by auction, and fixing the upset 
price at a minimum of ^i per acre. Survey and 
charting were made necessary preliminaries to sale, 
except in the case of special blocks of 20,000 acres, 
and certificates were to be issued to persons paying 
money into the British Treasury entitling them to 


any unsold surveyed land they might select on 
arrival in New South Wales. The point in the Act 
which caused the greatest trouble was the authority 
conferred on the Governor to grant annual licenses 
for the occupation of Crown lands, fixing the rent 
himself and being able to raise it to any figure 
which might appear to him proper. In the same 
year, 1842, the long-anticipated measure recon- 
structing the constitution of the colony and granting 
the elective principle was passed almost unanimously 
by both Houses of the English Parliament. The 
existing Legislative Council was empowered to arrange 
electoral districts and other details for a new legis- 
lative body consisting of thirty-six members, twelve 
to be nominated by the Crown and twenty-four to 
be elected by all persons possessed of a low property 
qualification. The Act went on to make certain 
provisions for the establishment of District Councils, 
whose principal duty it would be to collect funds 
for the maintenance of police and the construction 
of local works. The first district councillors were 
to be appointed by the Governor, and subsequent 
vacancies were to be filled by election, but failing 
an election the Government had power to fill the 
positions by his nominees. These arrangements 
shortly caused friction between Gipps and his new 

On the 1st of August, 1843, the new Council met 
after an election which was characterised by rioting 
and loss of life. There were many matters requiring 
urgent and careful attention, the foremost being 
the extreme prostration which had followed the 


financial crisis and now appeared to threaten the 
very existence of the community. Wentworth con- 
sidered the only hope of infusing new spirit into 
commerce and industry was to make by some means 
the vast herds and flocks of the pastoralists negoti- 
able ; with this end in view he introduced a Bill, 
which was passed, legalising liens on growing wool 
and the mortgage of live stock. Although the 
Secretary of State for a long time demurred to 
this Act, the Royal assent was eventually obtained, 
and all the benefits anticipated by Wentworth were 
fully realised. By a resolution of the house a 
parliamentary agent in London was appointed to 
attend to the affairs of the colony in England, and 
a corresponding committee was nominated to instruct 
him, but the principal part of the session was taken 
up with disputes as to expenditure and the applica- 
tion of certain funds, and objections to the District 
Council clauses of the Constitution Act. During 
the next session the Council continued to squabble 
with the Governor over questions of finance, and 
matters were brought to a crisis in 1845 when Gipps 
sent down bills to continue the " unauthorised 
occupation of Crown Lands Act," and to make 
provision for the maintenance of border police. 
Here was the opportunity for which Wentworth 
and his supporters had been waiting. The bills 
they declared could never pass through the Council, 
first, because the legislature "was not disposed to 
continue summary powers which had been used to 
support a claim to tax by prerogative alone ; " 
secondly, because the Governor had repeatedly 


asserted that the Crown was the absolute owne rof 
waste lands, and that the prerogative was sufficient 
for their management, so that the interference of the 
Council would be unnecessary ; thirdly, because the 
legislature would be disinclined to tax the squatters 
so long as the Governor had the power to tax them 
as much as he chose by the raising of rent and by 
the rates levied by the nominee District Councils ; 
and fourthly, because they entirely disagreed with 
the regulations framed by Gipps for the management 
of the Crown lands of the colony. These resolutions 
were conveyed to the Governor by deputation, and 
the Council adjourned to a date later than that on 
which it was supposed that Gipps would be relieved 
by his successor ; the continued strain of govern- 
ment had wrecked his health and he had been com- 
pelled to resign his office. Gipps was equal to the 
occasion, and, in order to prevent the new Governor 
from being confronted by difficult questions before 
he had had time to make himself acquainted with 
the circumstances of the country, promptly prorogued 
Parliament to a date which would afford his successor 
ample leisure to learn the true state of affairs. At 
the same time he reissued the regulations which had 
given so much umbrage. 

In spite of the turbulent ending to his reign, 
Gipps left the colony amidst expressions of genuine 
regret, for none were insensible of his ability and 
the purity of his motives, even in those matters 
which had aroused most popular resentment. It 
had been his misfortune to quarrel with Went- 
worth and Lowe, the leading spirits of the Council, 




and it is impossible to believe that many of the 
actions of that body which tended to strain the 
relations between the Governor and the Legislature 
were not prompted as much by personal as by public 




Sir Charles Fitzroy arrived in H.M.S. Caiys- 
foi't on the 3rd of August, 1846, and entered on what 
was the most memorable term of office of any 
Australian governor. One of his first acts was to 
submit estimates, in which were included the details 
of the schedules, and the Council, led by Wentvvorth, 
affirmed that they had no intention in asserting the 
right to deal with the sums named therein, "to 
propose alterations in any of the salaries to which 
the faith of Her Majesty's Government had already 
been pledged." Thus the strained relations which 
had so long existed between Gipps and his council 
were soon removed by mutual concessions and a 
spirit of mutual confidence, and difficulties, which at 
one time threatened to cause a serious rupture, were 
by a few civil words made the occasion of expressions 
of amity and friendship. The question of quit rents, 
which had been another stumbling-block, was also 
satisfactorily settled by permitting all debtors to 


commute them at twenty years' purchase, the excess 
of that sum being refunded to persons who had 
already paid more. By an order in Council transpor- 
tation to New South Wales had been abolished in 
1840, but in the years following the great commercial 
crisis of 1843 its revival was seriously contemplated 
both within the colony and in England. Lord Stanley 
had proposed the formation of a new settlement 
as a receptacle for British criminals in 1845 ; two 
years later Colonel Barney, an officer of Engineers, 
was appointed superintendent, and actually sailed for 
Port Curtis, but he was unsuccessful in his search 
for a suitable site for the new colony, and before 
anything had been done, orders were received from 
England directing the abandonment of the project. 
In 1848 the attractions of the Californian gold-fields 
drew large numbers of the more adventurous spirits 
from New South Wales, and again complaints as 
to the dearth of labour began to be heard. The 
Secretary of State for the Colonies saw his oppor- 
tunity, and lost no time in making use of it. The 
order in Council which terminated transportation was 
at once revoked ; but popular sentiment had been 
misjudged, for, although a few persons considered 
that the only hope of averting the ruin which the 
depreciation in station and farm properties threatened 
was to resort again to assigned service, the great 
bulk of the population viewed the reintroduction of 
criminals as a thing to be prevented at all hazards. 
In February, 1849, there was a public meeting in 
Sydney to protest against Earl Grey's action, but 
meanwhile Mr. Gladstone, undeterred by the ex- 


perience of his predecessor at the Colonial Office, had 
suggested that the time had come when convicts 
should be again received, asserting " that the practical 
mischief of exciting jealousies by controverting the 
alleged promise of the discontinuance of trans- 
portation would be greater than any that can arise 
from acquiescence in the assumption of its correct- 
ness." This curious method of circumventing an 
acknowledged compact only intensified the opposi- 
tion of the colonists, and popular expressions on the 
question became ominously violent. Matters were 
brought to a head by the arrival of the HasJiemy 
in Port Jackson with convicts on board. A public 
meeting, hurriedly held at Circular Quay, was largely 
attended, and speeches in no moderate language were 
received with acclamation by the excited crowd. A 
deputation was appointed to immediately wait upon 
the Governor to inform him of the determination 
of the populace to resist the debarcation of the 
convicts ; but as it was clearly out of the power of 
Fitzroy to send the HasJieniy back with her cargo 
of criminals, and it was equally impossible to keep 
the wretched prisoners cooped up in the ship for 
any extended period, a compromise was at length 
arrived at ; the Governor permitted most of the 
convicts to be hired on board by settlers, on condition 
that they should not be employed in Cumberland, 
the metropolitan county, and the rest were promptly 
despatched to Moreton Bay, whither those who 
arrived subsequently were also sent. The incident 
of the HasJieuiy called forth more deliberate and 
unmistakable protests from the inhabitants, and in 


1850 forty-eight petitions, eight with five hundred and 
twenty-five signatures in favour of the continuance 
of transportation and forty with no less than 36,589 
names attached against it were forwarded to the 
EngHsh Government, while the Legislative Council 
resolved " that no more convicts ought, under any con- 
ditions, to be sent to any part of this colony." But 
although the people of New South Wales would not 
receive the outpourings of the British gaols, free im- 
migrants were eagerly sought and gladly welcomed. 
Large numbers of assisted immigrants arrived each 
year, and usually met with a ready demand for their 
services, but occasionally some hardship was ex- 
perienced owing to the inability of the settlers far 
inland to make their requirements known, and the 
tendency of the new arrivals to cling to the city 
or its neighbourhood. Mrs. Caroline Chisholm did 
much to alleviate these evils by travelling through 
the country with batches of immigrants to the 
localities in which they would be most likely wanted, 
and after leaving the colony the same lady formed 
a Family Colonisation Society in London, which 
did good work in despatching suitable settlers to 

Previous to 1848 the system of primary educa- 
tion had been purely denominational, and, al- 
though various suggestions had been made for a 
scheme of public instruction, for one reason or 
another no definite action had been taken. In the 
year named, however, a committee of the Council 
reported in favour of the adoption of the Irish 
National School system, and an Act was passed 


appointing a Board of National Education, and 
also a Denominational School Board. The two 
bodies did not work in harmony, and the national 
schools were vehemently opposed by the ministers 
of most religious bodies. The same year saw 
the birth of the first Australian university. The 
hopes of colonists now soared high, and aimed at 
equality with the mother country, not only in 
material, but also in intellectual advantages. " I 
believe," said Wentworth, when speaking on the Bill 
authorising the foundation of the Sydney University, 
" that from the pregnant womb of this institution will 
arise a long line of illustrious names — of statesmen, 
of patriots, of philanthropists, of philosophers, of 
poets, of heroes, and of sages, who will shed a death- 
less halo not only on their country, but on that 
university we are now about to call into being." 

But if these brilliant anticipations were to be 
fulfilled, the colonist must first obtain full political 
rights, and in the struggle for political freedom 
Wentworth again appeared as the champion of the 
better aspirations of the people. Earl Grey's des- 
patch, authorising the separation of Port Phillip, had 
arrived at the end of 1847, and in the same document 
was sketched an amended constitution, which it was 
proposed to introduce into New South Wales as soon 
as practicable. Two houses were to be established, 
one nominated by the Crown and the other repre- 
sentative, but the people were to elect Municipal 
Councils who, in their turn, were to be the con- 
stituents of the Legislature. 

It was hinted that there should be some method 


" for enabling the various legislatures of the several 
Australian colonies to co-operate with each other in 
the enactment of such laws as may be necessary for 
regulating the interests common to those possessions 
collectively ; such, for example, are the imposition 
of duties of import and export, the conveyance of 
letters, and the formation of roads, railway, or other 
internal communications traversing any two or more 
of such colonies," and the creation of such a central 
legislative authority was foreshadowed, although no 
details were stated. This despatch was published by 
Fitzroy, and was not unfavourably received. In 
January, 1848, a huge public meeting was held in 
Sydney, at which all the leaders of the people for 
once united in vigorous opposition to the proposed 
alteration in the constitution. It was asserted that 
such a measure would have the effect of depriving 
the colonists of the elective franchise, which had 
only been obtained after a severe fight, and was de- 
clared by Mr. Stuart Donaldson, one of the speakers, 
to be " our unalienable right as British subjects." 
Earl Grey bowed to the storm and consented to 
withdraw his proposals, simply introducing a 
measure enabling the colonies to create two 
chambers, should they so desire. But the emphatic 
projiest which this scheme had called forth awoke 
the authorities in England to the importance of the 
subject and the earnestness of the desires of the 
settlers, and the whole question of the Australian 
constitutions seemed so serious that the Com- 
mittee of the Privy Council on Trade and Planta- 
tions was requested to report. After a few months' 


deliberation they advised that as free scope as 
possible for public opinion in Australia should be 
permitted, and that an enabling measure, giving the 
colonies power to devise their own constitutions 
within certain broad limits, should be passed. 
Although they deemed municipal institutions an 
essential to effective government, and " the only 
practicable security against the danger of undue 
centralisation," it would be impolitic in the present 
temper of the colonies to " force unwelcome duties " 
on them " under the name of franchises." 

Instead of direct taxation through District Councils, 
it was suggested that any balance of the land revenue 
received from each district, remaining over after 
charges for immigration had been met, should be 
handed to the local councils for expenditure on the 
construction of public works. They strongly urged 
" that there should be one tariff common to all " 
the settlements, " so that goods might be carried 
from one into the other with the same absolute 
freedom as between any two adjacent counties in 
England." All common questions were to be settled 
by " a general assembly of Australia," presided over 
by the Governor of New South Wales in his capacity 
of Governor-General. The necessary revenue for 
this central authority Vv'as to be obtained by " an 
equal percentage from the revenue received in all 
the colonies." 

The English Government expressed the intention 
of immediately introducing a Bill based on the 
report, but troubles nearer home delayed the matter 
till early in 1850. 


When the AustraHan Colonies Government Bill 
was read the second time in the House of Commons 
the debate was a keen one. Various amendments 
were proposed, and the franchise was lowered. All 
the colonies were expressly disabled from interfer- 
ing with the Crown lands and the revenue derived 
therefrom. The existing council was convened in 
March, in order to pass the measures required to 
give effect to the new arrangements, but Wentworth 
condemned the proposed constitution because by it 
" all material powers exercised for centuries by the 
House of Commons were still withheld." A select 
committee of the existing council was obtained, 
which in its report protested against the proposals 
on the grounds that all revenue and taxation should 
be entirely in the hands of the Colonial Legislature ; 
that all offices of trust and emolument should be 
filled by the Governor and Executive Council, un- 
fettered by instructions from the Minister for the 
Colonies ; that plenary powers of legislation should be 
conferred on the Colonial Legislature ; it concluded 
by " solemnly protesting against these wrongs, and 
declaring and insisting on these our undoubted 
rights ; we leave the redress of the one and the 
assertion of the other to the people whom we re- 
present and the legislature which shall follow us." 

An electoral Bill was passed providing thirty-six 
representative and eighteen nominee members for the 
new Council of New South Wales, and twenty elected 
and ten nominee members for Victoria, which, on 
their election, was to become a separate colony. The 
lowering of the franchise produced a strange altera- 


tion in public feeling, and at the election of 1851 
Wentworth's name stood last instead of first of the 
three members for Sydney ; John Dunmore Lang 
leading the poll. The new council met on the i6th 
of October and reaffirmed the protest of the defunct 
body. In their report they stated that they were 
" prepared upon the surrender to the Colonial Legis- 
lature of the entire management of all our revenues, 
territorial as well as general, in which we include 
mines of every description, and upon the establish- 
ment of a constitution similar in its outline to that of 
Canada, to assume and provide for the whole cost of 
our internal government, whether civil or military." 
The petition was carried and transmitted by Sir 
Charles Fitzroy to the Secretary of State as expressing 
" the general and deliberate opinion of the most loyal, 
respectable, and influential members of the com- 
munity." Sir John Pakington was at this time 
Secretary of State, and he at once fell in with the 
views so unmistakably expressed. In his despatch 
to the Governor he stated that the English Govern- 
ment were " ready to accede to the wishes of the 
Council and of the colony in a spirit of entire con- 
fidence." The Council was invited to frame a con- 
stitution for itself, and the whole of the revenues 
demanded would be surrendered by the Crown as 
soon as the contemplated changes in the constitution 
had been effected. Transportation to Australia was 
to be finally abolished, and the despatch closed with 
the expression of the hope that the proposed enact- 
ment " will not only tend to promote the welfare and 
prosperity of the great colony . . . but also to cement 


and perpetuate the ties of kindred affection and mutual 
confidence which connect its people with that of the 
United Kingdom." 

Some time elapsed before the details of the new 
constitution could be finally settled, but Sir John 
Pakington's despatch irrevocably conceded the prin- 
ciple that the Australian Colonies, on showing their 
ability to do so, had the right to demand the control 
and management of their own affairs. In the fore- 
going pages it has been shown how, step by step, the 
power of the people advanced, how the taint of crime 
rapidly, though almost imperceptibly, disappeared 
from the popular assemblies. The old divisions of 
society had gone, and instead of " emancipated " and 
" free " a united people is to be seen vehemently con- 
tending for those same rights and privileges in this 
distant possession which they would have been enjoy- 
ing had they remained or been born in the mother 
country. To the early political life of this settlement at 
the antipodes was given peculiar interest by the strong 
individuality and remarkable ability of the leading 
characters. Wentworth fired with love of his native 
country, and embittered by the feeling that the land 
of his birth was tainted by foreign crime, first made 
his appearance as the champion of the " freed " whom 
he longed to make free, but, as the colony grew, he 
perceived that the future was too grand to be bound 
up with the personal hopes of a section of the inhabi- 
tants. As the struggle for the elective principle 
progressed he became aware that, if Australia was to 
be a mighty nation, higher ideals than those of the 
mob must lead her. Although extremely violent in 


his language he ever professed to keep within the 
bounds of parliamentary usage ; and his love ot 
England and her liberties was only eclipsed by the 
love he bore the land of his birth. But when the 
fighting days were over, and, the victory being won, it 
was necessary to order affairs of state with caution 
and moderation, he lost the marvellous hold he had 
previously exercised over the lower classes of the 
community, and, although always a power in the 
council, he ceased to be a popular idol. 

Perhaps the next most prominent figure at this time 
was John Dunmore Lang, a Presbyterian minister and 
polemical politician. An advocate of the severance 
of the British connection, violent and coarse in 
language though undeniably able and eloquent, he 
took the place which Wentworth lost in the affection 
of a section of the masses. Always mixed up in 
transactions which his opponents called by very 
ugly names, he occupied a unique position on the 
political stage and a volume could be filled with an 
account of his extraordinary vicissitudes and curious 

Robert Lowe, afterwards Lord Sherbrooke, was 
another participator in the stirring events attending 
the birth of responsible government A man of great 
gifts he had many admirers but few friends. First 
entering the Council as a personal friend and nominee 
of Gipps, he soon became that governor's most 
dangerous opponent, and Wentworth aptly described 
him, when at the elections of 1848 he said — " Long 
ago I felt the deep conviction that, having had to bear 
his praises, I must soon be doomed to bear his bitterest 


and most envenomed censure. The principle of the 
man's life is change." 

But not the least noticeable figure in the group of 
leaders was that of Deas Thompson, the Colonial 
Secretary. With wonderful tact at a most difficult 
period he successfully conducted the Government 
business in a sensitive and hostile council, and in the 
measures framed under his hand, a broadness of view 
and a keen appreciation of the people he had to deal 
with is everywhere visible. His rS/e was not as 
brilliant as that of the champions of popular rights, 
but his influence as a high-minded and honourable 
srentleman was extensive. 




The extraordinary activity displayed in the social 
and political development of New South Wales at 
this period is the more remarkable as the commercial 
and financial prospects were not encouraging. The 
colony had never really recovered from the crisis of 
1843. Confidence had then been destroyed, and 
the credit, so essential to business transactions of 
any magnitude, had received a shock from which 
it could only be restored by years of patient and 
steady industry. Then the sudden cessation of 
assigned labour combined with the emigration to 
California, had been a severe ordeal, and many persons 
prophesied the speedy collapse of the whole settle- 
ment. Looking back through the records of these 
troublous times, it seems strange that some people 
were not tempted to seek for gold during the years of 
depression. It was known by many that the precious 
metal had been found in the Bathurst district, and 
from time to time since the very early days of occu- 
pation, reports had been made to the authorities con- 


cerning the discovery of gold in various places. As 
far back as 1823 there is an entry in the field-book 
of a surveyor named James McBrian, under date of 
February the i6th, which runs: "At eight chains, 
fifty links to river, and marked gum-tree — at this 
place I found numerous particles of gold in the sand 
and in the hills adjacent to the river," the river referred 
to being the Fish River, about fifteen miles from 
Bathurst, and not far from the discoveries of Hargraves. 

Again, in 1839, Count Strzlecki found gold, and 
informed the Governor, Sir George Gipps ; and, 
although he was requested by the authorities to 
suppress, as far as he was able, the knowledge of his 
discovery, for fear of gold fever rendering the convicts 
unmanageable and disturbing the settled industries of 
the country, there can be little doubt that the fact was 
disclosed to a large number of people. 

In 1 841 the Rev. W. B. Clarke found gold in the 
Macquarie Valley and the Vale of Clwydd, and stated 
that he was convinced that the metal would be met 
with in large quantities in various localities through- 
out New South Wales, and, for some time previous to 
1 85 1, a shepherd named McGregor had, while tending 
his flocks, collected particles of gold, while other 
persons had not unfrequently come across small 

But, in spite of all these incidents, it would seem 
that the possibility of Australia being possessed of 
this kind of wealth never seriously occupied men's 
minds. It was not for some seven years after the 
acute stage of the commercial crisis that any general 
interest in the gold discoveries was shown, and then 



attention was drawn to the matter, not by the 
prophecies of geologists, but by the conviction of a 
man named Hargraves, that the country, so like in 
character the great gold-bearing places in Cali- 
fornia, would, in all probability, be also auriferous. 
The story is a curious one. Hargraves was one of 
the numerous adventurers who left the colony in 1848 
for California, but the first thing which impressed him 
on his arrival was the great resemblance between the 
gold country and some of the places which were well 
known to him in Australia. The more he pondered 
upon the likeness, the stronger grew the conviction 
that there must be gold too, near his old home. Each 
day he felt more forcibly impelled to return to 
Australia and test the accuracy of his surmises. At 
last he could resist the inclination no longer, and 
on the 1 2th of February, 1851, his enterprise was 
rewarded, and he succeeded in finding gold in the 
Lewis Ponds and Summerhill Creeks, the very spots 
which had been in his mind during his sojourn in 

Having fully assured himself of the payable 
character of the field, Hargraves approached the 
Government. He at first asked for a reward, on receipt 
of which he expressed his willingness to point out 
the places at which he had experimented, but Deas 
Thompson declined to entertain any other proposal 
than that the localities should be shown and proved 
to Mr. Stuchbury, the geological surveyor, and that 
Hargraves should trust to the honour of the Govern- 
ment for an adequate reward after his discoveries had 
been confirmed and their value ascertained. This 


offer was accepted, and on the 6th of May it was 
announced in Sydney that a gold-field had been 
found. Three weeks later Mr, Stuchbury wrote to 
the Colonial Secretary that " the number of people at 
the diggings on the Summerhill Creek is daily in- 
creasing upon an extent of about a mile. I estimate 
the number to be not less than i,ooo, and, with few 
exceptions, they appear to be doing well, many of 
them getting large quantities of gold." The rush to 
the gold-fields before long seriously affected other 
industries, and the apprehensions of collapse from 
stagnation were converted into fears of ruin from too 
great speculation. Indeed, it was urged upon the 
Governor by some of those engaged in pastoral and 
agricultural pursuits, that martial law should be 
proclaimed, and all gold-diggings peremptorily pro- 
hibited, in order that the inducement, which seemed 
so irresistible, for persons to quit their ordinary occu- 
pations might be removed. It is needless to say that 
such an absurd request was not entertained, Fitzroy 
expressing his opinion that to try to stop the rush to 
the diggings would be as futile " as to attempt to 
stop the influx of the tide." Nevertheless, there can 
be no doubt that in some quarters the exodus of 
labourers from the more settled industries of the 
country was very keenly felt. Stations in some cases 
were left without hands, and farmers saw their crops 
spoiling because they could not obtain sufficient men 
to harvest them. 

When the rush first commenced, the Council was 
not in session, so the new conditions had to be pro- 
vided for by the executive. Deas Thompson, the 


Colonial Secretary, drew up rules for the regulation of 
the gold-fields, imposing a license fee of thirty shillings 
per month on all persons digging gold. The revenue 
arising from this source was promptly placed at the 
disposal of the Colonial Government to meet the 
extraordinary expenditure consequent on the changed 
circumstances of the colony, and, when the Council 
met, it was considered that Deas Thompson's regula- 
tions had worked so satisfactorily that there was no 
need to make any alterations. Only one serious 
disorder threatened. At the Turon field four hundred 
armed diggers prepared to resist payment of the 
license fee ; but the Government at once despatched 
half a company of the nth Regiment with rein- 
forcements of police to Sofala, and showed such 
a firm determination to maintain the law that the 
turbulent spirits quailed, and the rioters melted away 
without causing further trouble. It is not surprising 
that ordinary methods of gaining a living became 
unattractive in the face of some of the early finds of 
gold. He would indeed be a cold-blooded philosopher 
whose mind would not be inflamed by such a discovery 
as that made by a Dr. Kerr on the Turon. This 
gentleman, or rather a native employed on his station, 
discovered, accidently, a lump of gold weighing about 
one hundred and six pounds, and worth, approxi- 
mately, ;!^4,500 ; another mass of gold was unearthed, 
in November, 1858, at Burrandong, near Orange, 
which, after melting at the mint, yielded ;^4,389 
worth of the metal ; and the " Brennan " nugget, which 
was sold in Sydney, in 1851, realised £1,1^6; while 
numerous other finds of a similar character were quite 


sufificient to tempt even the most cautious to go and 
try their fortunes at the diggings. In the early days, 
moreover, apart from the extraordinary discoveries 
of huge lumps, good results were obtained by the 
greater number of the miners on the alluvial workings. 
In the "Quarterly Review" for September, 1852, a 
writer asserted that in New South Wales " the average 
monthly earnings of gold-diggers amounted to ;^3i 
3s.," and supported this estimate by the evidence of 
the commissioners on the various fields who commonly 
spoke of ^i per day as the average result of the 
miner's labour. The general excitement and unsettled 
state of the colony caused very great discomfort and 
loss to those who had, from one reason or another, to 
remain at their ordinary avocations, for the enhanced 
value of the principal articles of common consumption 
made serious inroads on the pockets of all who reaped 
no direct advantage from the mines. A special " gold 
allowance " was paid to public servants, to enable 
them to meet the changed circumstances, and the 
dearth of labour caused a somewhat similar advance 
in remuneration to persons in private employ. Wheat 
rose between 1850 and 1855 from 4s. to i6s. 5d. per 
bushel, tea from is. lod. to 2s. 5d. per lb., potatoes 
from 7s. to 2 IS. 4d. per cwt., and beer from 2s. gd. to 
4s. yd. per gallon. On the gold-fields prices of the 
commonest things reached prodigious figures, and as 
the roads became cut up the cost of carriage rose 
from £2 los. to ^^"30 per ton. The condition of things 
sketched above did not continue for very long ; 
what has been fitly described as the " alluring 
dazzle of the gold-seeker's life" gradually became 


dimmed by the privation, discomfort, and disappoint- 
ment which, as the numbers of miners increased, and 
the alluvial beds became exhausted in the majority 
of instances, were all that was experienced on the 
gold-fields ; in consequence people returned to their 
former occupations in less fascinating but more safe 
and permanent paths of industry. But the work of 
the great discovery had been accomplished in the 
first few years following 185 1. Not only had new 
life and fresh impetus been given to enterprise in 
New South Wales, but an entirely new class of 
labour had been attracted to the province, bringing 
with it a far higher standard of living than that 
previously obtaining, and thus permanently im- 
proving the condition of workers for the future. 
The thirst for gold and feverish excitement which 
accompanied the birth of the mining industry in 
Australia, was probably all the more acute owing 
to the extreme depression which immediately pre- 
ceded it, for it is a somewhat remarkable fact that, 
although only a small portion of the auriferous area 
of the continent of Australia has been explored, and a 
still smaller portion properly developed, so that the 
chances of marvellous finds are as great as ever, there 
has never since the rush between 185 i and 1857 been 
anything resembling the overmastering fascination 
which the search for the precious metal at first exer- 
cised. Of course, every now and then there is what 
is called commonly a " boom " in mining circles, but 
no considerable number of persons have been attracted 
from other pursuits. 




In 1853, on the receipt of Sir John Pakington's 
despatch, a committee of the Council, of which Went- 
vvorth was the guiding spirit, was appointed to draft 
a Constitution Bill. It was not long in bringing up its 
report, which, however, met with considerable opposi- 
tion both in the Council and from the people outside. 
Wentworth desired to make the Upper Chamber 
hereditary, after the example of the House of Lords, 
and provided for a species of colonial peerage, the 
the only point which raised much comment ; but 
public meetings vigorously protested against the in- 
troduction of the hereditary principle, and eventually, 
after a hard fight, Wentworth consented to withdraw 
this particular arrangement, and substitute a nomi- 
nated chamber. He gave in with reluctance, and 
only because he feared the wreck of the whole scheme, 
were he to adhere to his opinion. His contention 
had been that some special inducement must be offered 
to successful persons to remain in the colonies ; " For 
who would stay here if he could avoid it ? " said he, 


" who with ample means would ever return, if ever he 
left these shores, or identify himself with the colony, 
so long as selfishness and ignorant democracy held 
sway ? Yet what a great country would those have 
to live in if higher and nobler principles prevailed ! 
Blessed by the bounteous gifts of Providence, it affords 
in its illimitable tracts happy homes for millions yet 
unborn." Wentworth's forecast has been singularly 
verified, and one of the greatest misfortunes of the 
colonies at the present day is that no sooner do 
Australians accumulate wealth, than they fly to 
Europe to dissipate it. Whether his remedy would 
have been effective or not, it is impossible to say, but 
few will deny that there is something lacking in 
colonial society, which is essential to retain those from 
whom it should receive its greatest advancement and 

On December 21st a Constitution Bill was passed, 
and forwarded to the Secretary of State for the sanc- 
tion of the Imperial Parliament, and, after a somewhat 
stormy passage through the House of Commons, the 
measure became law. In 1856 the old council was 
dissolved, having first made the necessary arrange- 
ments for the election of the new assembly, and on 
May 22nd the first Parliament under responsible 
government was opened by Sir William Denison. 
There were two chambers, the Upper House, called 
the Legislative Council, consisting of members nomi- 
nated by the Crown, and the Legislative Assembly, 
which contained fifty -four elected members. The 
first Ministry included Sir Stuart Alexander Donald- 
son, as Colonial Secretary and Premier ; Mr. Thomas 


Holt, Treasurer ; Sir William Manning, Attorney- 
General ; Mr. J. B. Darvall, Solicitor-General ; and 
Mr. W. C. Mayne as Representative of the Govern- 
ment in the Legislative Council. The principles of 
the Constitution, as originally laid down, have never 
been altered, but there have been some changes in 
minor details. In New South Wales, as in the other 
Australian colonies, the democratic element was in- 
creasing, and before long the Electoral Act was 
amended and the franchise reduced to practically 
manhood suffrage. At the sam.e time, the old system 
of voting was abolished, and all elections have since 
been conducted by means of the ballot-box. Various 
other amendments of the Electoral Act have taken 
place from time to time, and the few restrictions of 
political privilege which remained have been removed. 
The Legislative Council now contains sixty-seven 
members — though there is no fixed limit of numbers — 
and there are one hundred and forty-one members of 
the Assembly. The tenure of a seat in the Council 
is for life, and the only qualification required of mem- 
bers is that they shall be twenty-one years of age, 
and naturalised or natural born subjects of the Queen, 
while the qualification of the Lower House is practi- 
cally the same. The representatives of the people 
now receive ;^300 per annum each, in return for the 
services which they are supposed to render to the 
country, but members of the Council are unpaid with 
the exception of the privilege of travelling free on the 
State Railways, which is enjoyed by members of both 
Houses. The duration of the Assembly is limited to 
three years, and the only condition at present neces- 


sary to obtain elective rights is six months' residenc-u 
before the rolls are compiled. 

Within the first five years of responsible govern- 
ment, under the guidance of Sir John Robertson 
elaborate regulations were framed for the alienation 
and occupation of Crown lands. The circumstances 
of the colony had been greatly altered by the discovery 
of gold, and the question of land settlement had to be 
dealt with in an entirely new spirit to meet the wants 
of a class of a different type to that contemplated by 
the framers of former enactments. The new scheme 
excited great public interest, and a monster torchlight 
meeting was held in Wynyard Square to discuss the 
land question generally, but more particularly to con- 
demn the proposals which had been made. A minis- 
terial crisis followed, and the Government were beaten 
by a large majority on the question of " free selection 
before survey." The Governor was urged to dissolve 
Parliament, but this he declined to do, and before long 
public sentiment underwent a complete change ; the 
cry of " free selection before survey " was made the 
watchword of the democratic party ; and the measure 
on its re-introduction consequently became law. The 
Act of 1 86 1 was intended to facilitate the settle- 
ment of an industrial agricultural population, side 
by side with the pastoral tenants, by means of free 
selection in limited areas. To this privilege was 
attached the condition of bond-fide residence, and 
the land was to be sold at a fixed price, payable by 
instalments, or partly remaining at interest. All 
public lands, with the reservation of existing rights, 
were to be thrown open to conditional purchase before 


or after survey, to all comers, in lots ranging in area 
from 40 to 320 acres. At the same time leases of 
stations for pastoral purposes were granted on 
appraised rents, the tenancy being for a period of five 
years, on the condition that such lease had no power 
to bar purchase, either conditional or by auction, 
should any one desire to become possessed of the 
property. The effect of this law was an apparent 
increase in agricultural settlement ; but, although it 
induced a large amount of bona-fide occupation, the 
power to select allotments within the boundaries of 
runs, caused serious friction between selectors and the 
Crown tenants, and without doubt led to extortion 
and fraud on an extensive scale. Another result of 
the fears of indiscriminate selection on their leasehold 
areas was that the Crown tenants, in order to protect 
their properties from the inroads of free selectors, 
plunged into debt, money being recklessly borrowed 
for the purchase of the freehold of the land which 
they were then holding under lease. 

The new Parliament did not confine its liberalism 
to the admmistration of the Crown lands. Before it 
had been many years in existence an Act was passed 
abolishing all grants from the State Treasury in aid 
of religious denominations, while a further levelling 
measure found its place on the statute book in an Act 
providing for the abolition of the law of primogeni- 
ture. A peculiar political crisis occurred at the close 
of the rule of Sir William Denison, over a matter of 
trivial importance in itself, but one which — involving 
the question of the Royal prerogative — is interesting 
as exemplifying the temper of the colonial legislature 


in its infancy. A grant of land to a certain person 
had been recommended to the Governor by the 
Secretary of State, but such grant was distasteful to 
the Governor's ministers, who advised him that he 
had no power to make the concession, and several 
successive ministers declined to give effect to it. The 
Governor thus found himself in a difficult position, as 
either he must disregard the advice of his responsible 
ministers or disobey the imperative commands of the 
Secretary of State. Shortly before his departure, 
therefore, he applied for the seal of the colony, for 
the purpose of completing the deed without minis- 
terial sanction ; it was eventually yielded to him 
by Mr. Cowper and his colleagues under protest, 
the members of the Government at the same time 
tendering their resignations. Denison used the seal 
and returned it to its former custody, and also exer- 
cised his privilege of refusing to accept the resignations 
of his ministers ; there the matter ended, for he 
very shortly relinquished his office. 

The material progress of the colony had meanwhile 
been great. For the first twenty-three years of the 
settlement's existence there had been no postal 
facilities whatever, and it was not till 18 10 that the 
first post-office was established, and even then the 
arrangements were of a most primitive character. In 
1825 an attempt was made to improve the organisa- 
tion, and tenders were called for the conveyance of 
mails between the principal centres of population ; 
but the charges for transmission and delivery were 
extremely high, and varied according to the distance 
the letter or packet was carried, and the difficulty of 


access to the recipient. Twelve years afterwards pre- 
payment of postage by means of stamped covers was 
instituted, and in 1 849 the whole of the postal arrange- 
ments were remodelled, the rates greatly reduced, and 
an agitation in favour of more regular communication 
with Great Britain commenced. Three years later a 
contract was let for a monthly steam mail service be- 
tween Sydney and England, the time for the passage 
being limited to fifty-eight days. This was a great 
advance but the steamers were very irregular and 
scarcely ever up to time. 

Macquarie's energy in road-making had provided 
access to many districts ; but the wants of the com- 
munity had so greatly increased that in 1846 a move- 
ment in favour of railway communication received 
strong support. A meeting was held in Sydney to 
promote the construction of a line to connect the 
metropolis by rail with the city of Goulburn, and two 
years later a company was formed with a capital of 
;^ 1 00,000 having for its object the construction of 
lines to Parramatta and Liverpool, with a possible 
extension in course of time to Bathurst and Goulburn. 
The first sod of the first railway in the Australasian 
colonies was turned in 1850 by the Hon. Mrs. Keith 
Stewart, the daughter of the Governor, but the com- 
pany which was constructing the line did not prosper, 
and its property was taken over by the Government. 
Another company, in 1853, commenced a railway from 
Newcastle to Maitland, but it fared no better, and its 
interest also was before long transferred to the State. 
The works thenceforward were pushed on with vigour, 
and in September, 1855, aline from Sydney to Parra- 


matta was declared open for public traffic. Fourteen 
years later the extension to Goulburn was completed, 
and additions to the railways have since been made 
nearly every year, although until 1875 the progress 
was not very rapid. An unnatural impetus was given 
to all other pursuits by the discoveries of gold, and 
agricultural and pastoral enterprises, as well as manu- 
facturing industries, made great strides. But in 1857 
there were signs of a reaction, and by i860 the fictitious 
prosperity had entirely disappeared ; work became 
scarce, and there was great distress amongst the labour- 
ing classes, who attended in large numbers before 
Parliament House and clamorously demanded the 
assistance of the Government. At the same time the 
trades commenced an agitation for a reduction of the 
hours of labour, mainly on the plea that by this means 
work would be available for a greater number of hands, 
and from these beginnings arose the " eight-hour move- 
ment " which has since gained such a firm hold on 
Australian wage-earners. As the local labour market 
appeared to be overstocked, the amount voted by 
Parliament to assist immigration to the colony was 
reduced from ;^6o,000 to ;^30,000, and gradually 
things improved. But the gold-rush had introduced 
many unruly spirits, and the hard times which followed 
led to outbreaks of lawlessness, with which the Govern- 
ment found it difficult to contend. 

The whole country was terrorised for many years 
following i860 by the exploits of bushrangers, and 
for a time the executive appeared to be incapable of 
dealing with these offenders. Some of the bush- 
rangers seized very large amounts in gold and specie 


on the roads to and from the diggings. In June, 1862, 
for instance, a daring raid was made on the gold 
escort on its way from the Lachlan, and upwards of 
^14,000 worth of gold carried off. The mail coach 
was constantly waylaid and robbed in all parts of 
the colony. Sometimes passengers offered a vigorous 
resistance, and defeated their assailants, but more 
often they quietly submitted to the depredations of 
the ruffians. The country settlers became alarmed. 
Public meetings were held, and the Government 
were petitioned to take more active steps to suppress 
highway robbery, for it was alleged that life and 
property on the main roads in the interior were at 
present in continual jeopardy. As the months slipped 
by and the success of some of the marauders excited 
the fancy of other criminals, lawless acts became 
more and more frequent and impudent. If a bush- 
ranger was caught he usually suffered the last penalty, 
and when a magistrate, near Mudgee, shot dead a bush- 
ranger known as Heather, the jury at the coroner's 
inquiry brought in a verdict of "justifiable homicide." 
But this severity had no effect, and during the month 
following Heather's death the mail from Cassilis to 
Mudgee was " stuck up " and robbed under arms, and 
in September of the same year a police camp near 
Wombat was surprised by a gang of bushrangers, 
and after a small resistance the whole of the trooper's 
horses were appropriated by the outlaws. 

So prevalent had this particular class of crime 
become, that lengthy debates on the state of lawless- 
ness in the country districts took place in Parliament, 
and, as a result, high rewards were offered for the 


apprehension or conviction of offenders. Outlawry 
only seemed to make the bushrangers more bold, and 
in September, 1863, a notorious thief named Gilbert, 
and his gang, robbed a jeweller's shop in the heart 
of Bathurst, and a few days later held the township 
of Canowindra for three days, and levied toll on all 
arrivals. During 1864 mail and other robberies by 
Hall, Gilbert, Morgan, and Dunleavy were of daily 
occurrence, and, if the slightest opposition was offered 
by their victims, they received scant consideration at 
the hands of the plunderers. Morgan was especially 
reckless, and in June fired on three men one of whom 
died from his wounds, and within a week shot a 
Serjeant of police dead. During a successful attack 
on the Gundagai mail, which was travelling under 
police escort, a severe encounter took place which 
resulted in the death of a sub-inspector, the capture 
of a Serjeant, and the flight of a constable. But it is 
useless to multiply instances of the crimes which 
were being perpetrated, for a record of all the out- 
rages which occurred at this period would fill a large 
volume. It is sufficient to say that no man's life or 
property was safe. Fortunately the wretched state 
of the country was relieved by numerous instances 
of the bravery and heroism of many of the settlers, 
both men and women, who displayed a courage and 
determination to resist the attacks of the bushrangers 
which more than counterbalanced the reckless dare- 
devilry of the murderers. Eventually the law pre- 
vailed, and bushranging and its accompanying evils 
were completely stamped out. 

The year 1861 was marked by a disgraceful out- 


break amongst the miners at Golden Point, Lamb- 
ing Flat. A considerable number of Chinese had 
assembled at these diggings shortly after the first 
discovery of gold, and a hostile feeling against them 
had arisen amongst the other miners. A monster 
meeting was held, ostensibly for the purpose of 
deciding " whether Burrangong is in European or 
Chinese territory," and resolutions were passed to 
the effect that the Chinese must go, peaceably if 
possible, but, in case they should offer any resistance, 
steps were taken to organise an armed force to expel 
them. When news of these disorderly proceedings 
reached Sydney, a detachment of the military was 
despatched to Lambing Flat to maintain order, and Mr. 
Cowper, who was Premier, himself proceeded to the 
diggings, where he was received with enthusiasm by 
the miners. But in spite of his presence another and 
large anti-Chinese meeting was held, at which a 
miner's " Protective League " was formed, with the 
avowed intention of ousting the Chinamen. Further 
reinforcements of the military were sent up, and this 
so reduced the number of soldiers in Sydney that 
the services of the volunteers had to be obtained to 
mount the necessary guards at Government House, 
and elsewhere. But after peaceful assurances had 
been made to Cowper, it was thought unnecessary to 
maintain the same military strength in the vicinity of 
the diggings, and a large number of Chinese, who 
had previously been driven from the mines, re- 
commenced work. 

Suddenly an attack was made by the miners on 
the Chinese quarters. Three thousand men made 



an onslaught, disfigured by every imaginable act of 
violence and barbarity. Every Chinaman met 
with was maimed or terribly maltreated, their 
tents were burned, their goods looted, and for some 
time the diggings were in a state of anarchy. In hot 
haste a mounted patrol was despatched from Sydney, 
under the charge of the Inspector-General of police, 
and on its arrival an engagement took place, in 
which several of the police were wounded, one rider 
killed, and about a hundred others injured. Troops 
were sent to support the police, and order was 
eventually restored. There was no room for doubt 
as to the atrocious characteristics of the attack 
upon the Chinamen, but strangely enough the 
action of the mining population received consider- 
able popular support. Anti-Chinese petitions were 
poured in upon the Governor, and deputations 
besieged his doors. Meanwhile the ringleaders of 
the outbreak had been apprehended, and lodged in 
Goulburn gaol, and the Governor, though importuned 
to intervene in their behalf, or to hold a special in- 
quiry, declined absolutely to take any action in the 
matter, asserting that the ordinary course of justice 
would thresh out the rights and wrongs of the 
question much better than any informal inquiry. 
This proved, however, to be a mistake, for the same 
failure of justice occurred on this occasion in New 
South Wales, as had taken place at the trial of 
Ballarat insurgents in Melbourne ; when ten of 
the rioters were placed in the dock at Goulburn 
circuit court, the jury declined to convict. 

Measures of a liberal character continued to occupy 


the attention of Parlian:ient, and the change which 
has taken place and is still going on in popular 
sentiment is clearly discernible in the early fate of 
some of the Bills which have now become law. Thus 
the idea of payment of members of parliament for 
their services was in the sixties rejected by large 
majorities ; a proposal for triennial parliaments met 
at first with the same fate, but the opposition to 
it melted away more rapidly than did the objection 
to the remuneration of the people's representatives. 

Early in 1868 the Duke of Edinburgh visited the 
colony, and met with an unfortunate mishap which 
cause a violent outbreak of sectarian and class ill- 
feeling. On March the 12th, while the Duke was 
attending a picnic at Clontarf, a man named O'Farrell 
attempted to assassinate him. This naturally caused 
a great commotion and the offender was nearly 
lynched on the spot, being rescued with difficulty 
from the violence of the crowd. Great indigna- 
tion was felt throughout the colony at the outrage, 
and public meetings were held to express sympathy 
with the sufferer, and abhorrence of the crime. The 
•legislature was affected with the wave of emotion, 
and a Treason Felony Act was passed through the 
Assembly in one day for the purpose of providing 
legally for the execution of O'Farrell, The wildest 
reports as to the significance of the crime were 
current, and, while some held that the deed was the 
outcome of a far-reaching Fenian conspiracy, others 
as strongly took the opposite view, and contended 
that the prisoner was nothing but a lunatic, and that 
the crime was devoid of real motive. Anyhow, the 


Treason Felony Act became law, and O'Farrell 
was promptly hanged, leaving, as a legacy to the 
country, the seeds of sectarian strife. The Duke of 
Edinburgh was not very seriously wounded, and 
soon recovered, and when the Treason Felony 
Act reached England it was pronounced repugnant 
to British law. Meanwhile in the colony it was the 
occasion for much mutual abuse by the leaders of 
the people, and Orange and Roman Catholic guilds 
increased and multiplied with an amazing rapidity. 

Previous to 1 848, the system of primary education 
in force was purely denominational. Assistance from 
the Public Treasury was given to the heads of the 
principal religious bodies, in proportion to the amount 
which they themselves collected and expended upon 
instruction ; but there were no schools entirely under 
State control. As early as 1834, dissatisfaction was 
expressed at the prevailing system, and five years' 
later a sum was voted by the Council with the object 
of securing undenominational education for the 
children of those who preferred it ; the innovation, 
however, met with some opposition, and little was 
done until 1844, when a Committee of the Legisla- 
ture reported in favour of the adoption of the Irish 
National School system, and an Act was passed 
constituting two boards, to one of which was 
entrusted the management of denominational, and 
to the other undenominational education. This 
arrangement was in force until the passing of the 
Public Schools Act of 1866, which provided for two 
distinct classes of schools, though all schools receiv- 
ing aid from the State were placed by it nominally 


under a Council of Education. The public schools 
were entirely under the control of this board, but 
the denominational schools were still managed to 
some extent by the various religious bodies to which 
they had hitherto belonged. Good work was done 
under this system, although in many respects it was 
defective ; but the principle of granting State aid to 
religious schools became more and more unpopular, 
and in 1880, State aid to denominational education 
was finally abolished. 

By the new Act, which is still in force, the entire 
educational system of the colony was remodelled ; 
the Council of Education was dissolved, and a 
Minister of Public Instruction created in its place. 
Public schools to afford primary instruction to all 
children without sectarian or class distinction were 
established, as well as superior public schools, in 
which a more advanced course might be followed. 
Evening public schools were formed for the benefit 
of those who need education but cannot attend the 
day schools ; and high schools for boys and girls, 
in which a course of instruction is provided to 
complete the public school curriculum and prepare 
students for the university. In all State schools the 
teaching is strictly non-sectarian ; but " secular in- 
struction " is supposed to include " general religious 
teaching, as distinguished from dogmatic or polemical 
theology." The history of England and of Australia 
form part of the course of secular instruction ; and 
it is further provided that four hours during each 
school day shall be devoted to secular instruction 
exclusively, but one hour each day may be set apart 


for religious instruction, to be given in a separate 
class-room by the clergyman or religious teacher 
of any persuasion to those children of the same 
denomination, provided the parents offer no objec- 

Attendance at school is compulsory for children 
between the ages of six and fourteen years, for at 
least seventy days in each half year (unless reason- 
able cause for exemption can be shown) ; parents are 
required to pay a weekly fee of threepence per child, 
but not exceeding one shilling in all for the children 
of one family. The fees, however, may be remitted 
where it is shown that the parents are unable to pay. 
Children attending schools are allowed to travel free 
by rail. Arrangements have been made for the 
establishment of provisional schools, the appointment 
of itinerant teachers in remote and thinly- populated 
districts, as well as the establishment of training 
schools for teachers. Parents are not compelled to 
send their children to the public schools, but have 
free choice in the matter, the State only insisting that 
instruction shall be given. 

The events which culminated in the death of 
General Gordon and the capture of Khartoum in 
1885 were watched with the keenest interest by 
the people of the Australian colonies, and the wide- 
spread sympathy which was felt for the mother 
country, as the troubles multiplied and the prospect 
became more threatening, found expression in the 
offer of Mr. William Bede Dalley, the Attorney- 
General and acting Premier of New South Wales, 
to send within a month to the aid of the British arms 


in the Soudan a fully-equipped force, eight hundred 
strong. The proposal created much surprise in 
England and in Australia, and many in the colony 
vehemently opposed the idea. But Mr. Dalley's 
action won generally popular approval. After some 
hesitation, the English Government accepted what 
it called the " splendid offer," and for a time the 
voices of the malcontents were drowned in the busy 
hum of preparation for the despatch of the contingent. 
Two large steamers were chartered as transports, and 
all arrangements were, made, with a lavish profusion 
which clearly indicated the excitement which had 
taken possession of the people. Private citizens vied 
with one another in making presents of stores and 
other requisites, and a patriotic fund started for the 
relief of the widows and orphans of those who might 
fall, soon mounted up to a prodigious figure. Men 
from all quarters hastened to volunteer their services, 
and had it been desired, a force twice or three times 
as large could easily have been enrolled. Within 
three weeks of the acceptance of Mr. Dalley's offer, 
all arrangements had been completed, and on the 
3rd of March, amidst the greatest enthusiasm, the 
soldiers embarked before a crowd of close upon a 
quarter of a million people. The significance of 
this event was unquestionably very great. The 
other colonies would gladly have joined New South 
Wales in its enterprise, at the same time it showed 
the nations of Europe that Great Britain had a latent 
power which had hitherto never been suspected or 
admitted into their calculations. The whole business 
— offer, acceptance, and despatch of the soldiers — was 



SO hurried, and carried through on such a remarkable 
wave of popular emotion, that the calmer heads in 
the community prophesied a violent reaction. It so 
happened that the New South Wales contingent had 
but little opportunity of real service. Its achieve- 
ments and casualties were alike insignificant, and on 
its return it disembarked under most unfavourable 
conditions in pelting rain. Nevertheless the reception 
of the troops on their return was almost as great as 
the demonstration at their departure. The prodi- 
gality displayed in equipping the force had provided 
scoffers with a text, whilst the huge patriotic fund had 
but few claimants upon it and remained a monument 
of what appeared to many in more sober moments un- 
necessary liberality. But none the less the majority 
of the colonists were glad, that they had done what 
they had ; indeed, were England on a future occasion 
to appear in imminent peril, it is not at all improbable 
that Australians would again be found ready to aid 
her with their fortunes and their lives. 




Pastoral industries are still the mainstay of 
the country, and the pastoral inhabitants of the pre- 
sent day owe a heavy debt to the early pioneers who 
drove their flocks and herds out over the unknown 
wilds of Australia. It is curious to look back on the 
very small beginnings of the enormous pastoral 
interests existing now. When the first expedition 
landed at Sydney Cove, the live stock which had 
been obtained with such difficulty at the Cape, 
comprised only one bull, four cows, one calf, one 
stallion, three mares, three foals, twenty-nine sheep, 
twelve pigs, and a few goats ; but the suitability 
of the country for pastoral pursuits soon induced 
enterprising men like Macarthur and others to 
commence breeding sheep and cattle and to start 
a trade in wool. Captain Macarthur, by systema- 
tic selection, and the purchase and importation of 
the best sheep procurable, greatly improved the strain 
of his flocks, and produced a fleece of very fine 
texture, which, being appreciated by English manu- 



facturers, immediately found a remunerative market. 
The difficulties of transport in these early days were 
very great, but numerous importations were made 
from India and elsewhere. Some rams and ewes of 
a very fine breed, which had been presented by the 
King of Spain to the Dutch Government, were suc- 
cessfully brought from the Cape, and some additional 
specimens of the same strain were afterwards obtained 
by Macarthur from the royal flocks in England. 
When it had once been demonstrated that fine wool 
could be successfully grown in New South Wales, this 
became the most important industry of the country, 
and the number of sheep depastured increased very 
rapidly. Were it not for the losses occasioned by 
droughts, the flocks v/ould perhaps before this have 
reached the limit which the pastures could carry, for 
they double themselves in four years if all goes well. 
The loss, however, from drought and disease is some- 
times very heavy. In 1884, for instance, it is estimated 
that owing to the absence of increase from lambing, 
and the extraordinary mortality among breeding 
stock, the loss through the adverse season must have 
amounted to at least 8,138,000 head. This figure 
shows how important a regular rainfall is ; at the 
same time the liability of the Colony to the disas- 
trous effects of dry seasons is being reduced each 
year by systematic water conservation, artesian 
boring and irrigation, and the cultivation of drought- 
resisting plants and shrubs. 

The climate is so genial, that there is no neces- 
sity to house stock, which may be safely left in the 
open air, even during the winter months ; but the 


old way of tending sheep, which was to place them 
under the charge of a shepherd, has been superseded 
by new methods, for it has been found that a station 
can be more economically worked, and that better 
fleeces and a higher percentage of lambs can be 
obtained by the subdivision of the runs into pad- 
docks. When the sheep are sheared, the wool is 
packed at the station in bales, weighing 450 lb., 
from 4 feet 6 inches to 5 feet 3 inches in length. The 
ramifications of the pastoral interests are so extensive, 
that the fluctuation of a penny per lb. in the value of 
wool in the consuming markets greatly influences the 
national prosperity. The enormous sum which a fall in 
price involves will be realised better when it is stated 
that if the prices of 1884 had ruled in 1886, the growers 
of New South Wales would have secured nearly 
p^2,ooo,ooo more than they actually received ; and, 
although in 1888 about 48,000,000 lb. more wool was 
exported than five years previously, the sum received 
was fully half a million less. There is annually a 
large exportable surplus of sheep for meat, amounting 
to about 4,850,000 head, but as yet but little has been 
done to utilise it, though there is now every prospect 
in the immediate future of a large export of frozen 
and tinned meat. The profitable returns afforded by 
sheep-breeding induced many pastoralists to substi- 
tute sheep for cattle on their properties, though in some 
districts there are signs of a change back to cattle. 

The variety of soil and climate to be found within 
New South Wales is very great, and consequently 
almost any kind of crop can be successfully cultivated. 
On the banks of the northern rivers surar-cane is 


grown, and there is every reason to believe that coffee 
tea, and other semi-tropical products would do equally 
well. Maize flourishes in the valleys of the coast 
district, and cereals and other crops of cold and tem- 
perate climes thrive on the high plateau of the great 
dividing range ; but hitherto the attractions offered 
by stock-raising have caused agriculture to be some- 
what neglected. 

It is not improbable that the next few years will 
see great changes in the system of land occupation. 
So far all attempts to induce a people to settle on small 
areas have failed. The results of even the most 
liberal laws have been insignificant, and the flocks of 
a semi-nomad pastoral population have monopolised 
the greater part of the country. But the continually 
falling values of meat and wool, and the incursions of 
rabbits, are* rendering a change in old systems im- 
perative, and it is impossible to appreciate the full 
effect of the change on the social organisation when 
it comes. A sparsely populated, but wealth-producing 
interior, has hitherto supported an enormous aggrega- 
tion of people in the metropolis, in pursuits which 
are not directly productive ; when, therefore, stock- 
raising as at present carried on succumbs, as it must 
inevitably sooner or later, to the more advanced 
methods of utilising the soil, the army of agents 
of all sorts and descriptions who are now dependent 
on the pastoral industry will have to find new avenues 
for the employment of their energies. 

In 1884 a new Land Act was passed which, though 
differing widely in many important particulars from 
previous legislation on the subject, maintained free 



selection before survey, but at the same time gave 
greater security of tenure to the Crown lessees. The 
whole colony was divided into districts, which were 
placed under the charge of local boards and land 
agents, and a special tribunal for the settlement of 
disputes in regard to land has since been established. 
The present condition of settlement may be briefly 
summarised as follows : — 

Estates of Estates occu- Estates 

Estates of various classes pied by owner rented 

per cent. per cent. per cent. 

I to 30 acres 0*25 0-15 O'lo 

32 to 400 acres 973 7*85 1-87 

401 to 1,000 acres 1073 9"36 i'37 

1,001 to 10,000 acres ... 28-63 24-57 4-07 

Upwards of 10,000 acres 50-66 46*62 4-04 

loo'oo 88-55 ii'45 

The mining industry still gives employment to a 
large number of men, and a large variety of minerals 
have been discovered. In the Barrier Range district, 
which lies to the west of the river Darling, near the 
border of South Australia, and which will be remem- 
bered as the neighbourhood of Sturt's hardships and 
mishaps in 1844, silver deposits extend over about 
2,500 square miles. The deposits worked by the 
celebrated Broken Hill Proprietary Company are 
phenomenally rich. A complete smelting plant on 
the latest and most approved principles has been 
erected, and the services of competent managers 
whose experience has been gained in the silver mining 
centres of the United States have been obtained. 



From the commencement of operations in 1885, to 
the 31st of May, 1892, the Company treated silver and 
silver lead ores, which yielded 36,512,445 oz. of silver, 
and 151,946 tons of lead, valued in London at 
^8,252,138. Dividends have been paid amounting to 
;!^3,88o,ooo, bonuses amounting to ;^592,ooo, and pro- 
perties have been parted with valued at ;i^ 1,744,000 ; 
so that the total payments made to shareholders have 
reached i^6,2 16,000. Many mines which give great 
promise are not yet fully developed, and a large 
increase in the production of silver, should there be a 
recovery in price, is not improbable. 

The railway system of the country is divided into 
three main arms, each being really a distinct system. 
The southern line, which is the most important of 
the three, branches at Junee, running from Sydney, 
454 miles, to Hay, the principal town of the fertile 
district of the Riverina in one direction, and 412 miles 
to Jerilderle in another. There are also several minor 
branches which drain into the main line, while a line 
connecting the southern and western systems, from 
Murrumburrah to Blayney, gives almost direct com- 
munication between Melbourne and Bourke. Goul- 
burn, a large town nearer to Sydney, will also be the 
recipient of several feeding branches. The southern 
line places the four chief capitals of Australia — Bris- 
bane, Sydney, Melbourne, and Adelaide — in direct 
communication ; and the mails from Europe can now 
be landed at Adelaide and forwarded overland to all 
parts of Victoria and New South Wales. The Western 
system crosses the Blue Mountains by zig-zag lines, 
and enters the Bathurst Plains, connecting the metro- 



polis with rich agricultural districts, while a branch 
from Nyngan to Cobar taps a mining and pastoral 
country. There are also other short lines which feed 
the western trunk line. The Northern system origi- 
nally terminated at Newcastle, but the connection is 
now complete with Sydney, the Hawkesbury River 
being spanned by an iron bridge 2,896 ft. long. This 
line runs through the Hunter Valley, to the rich dis- 
trict of New England, and traverses pastoral and 
agricultural country until it joins the Queensland 
system on the border beyond Tenterfield. Various 
branches are projected besides the three systems men- 
tioned, and there is an independent line to the Illa- 
warra district, a country rich in coal and agricultural 

There is but little more to record in connection with 
New South Wales which can rightly come under the 
name of history, for although the internal development 
of the country, and the growth of national sentiment 
have steadily progressed, there have been but few 
events to mark an epoch during the last twenty years. 
The aspirations and difficulties which used to affect the 
provinces individually are rapidly losing their purely 
provincial significance, and the interests of each colony 
are so inextricably interwoven with those of its sisters, 
that great questions must in future be decided more 
and more in accordance with the interests of the 
commonwealth as opposed to the inclination of a 
particular member of the group. 




Rumours that the French intended to form 
colonies in the South Pacific again gained credence 
in 1803, and the Governor of New South Wales 
promptly took steps to prevent, if possible, the 
landing of foreigners on Australian territory. With 
this end in view Lieutenant John Bowen was de- 
spatched to Van Diemen's Land with " sealed orders 
not to be opened except on the appearance of French 
vessels," and with him were sent some soldiers and 
convicts, to form a settlement on the banks of the 
Derwent. A whaler named the Albion and the 
Lady Nelson acted as transports ; after a tem- 
pestuous voyage Bowen, in the, cast anchor 
off Risdon, in the Derwent, on the 12th of Sep- 
tember, the Lady Nelson having reached her des- 
tination a few days previously. The new settlement 
was named Hobart after Lord Hobart, the then 
Secretary of State for the Colonies, and Bowen 


expressed himself as delighted with the site selected 
for the town and the country generally. In the same 
year Van Diemen's Land was inspected by Mr. 
Collins, who had been despatched by Lieutenant- 
Governor Collins to seek a spot to which the settle- 
ment at Port Phillip might be advantageously 
removed. The Tamar was first visited, but did not 
favourably impress the explorers, and the Lieutenant- 
Governor, having obtained King's permission, decided 
to transfer his colony to the Derwent. He would 
appear to have been difficult to please, for on arrival 
in the river he was not satisfied with Bowen's choice, 
but landed and pitched his camp on the southern 
side of the Derwent at Sullivan's Cove. Bowen, who 
was subordinate to the Governor of New South 
Wales, though he had been instructed to hand over 
his command to Collins on that officer's arrival, for 
some time was unable to obey ; for Collins was 
unwilling to undertake fresh duties incurring in- 
creased work ; the cares of the settlement were 
numerous, food was scarce, and both soldiery and 
convicts made frequent attempts to rob the public 
stores. At last King was compelled to peremptorily 
command Bowen to return to New South Wales, as 
it was impossible longer to tolerate the absurdity of 
two distinct governments within eight miles of each 
other, and Collins perforce took charge of the com- 
bined settlements. Although Port Dalrymple had 
been rejected by Collins, it appeared expedient to 
form a colony in that part of the island, and in 1804 
Colonel Paterson, acting under instructions from 
King, landed at George Town on the Tamar ; but 

t S5 



a better site for a town being discovered at York 
Town, the camp was moved to that place. The de- 
tachments were quite independent of each other, 
and Paterson was careful to get his jurisdiction 
defined before leaving New South Wales, the line of 
demarcation between the two commands being deter- 
mined at the forty-second parallel of latitude. 

Society in the island settlements was very much like 
society in Sydney, only on a smaller scale. The 
population consisted almost entirely of convicts and 
their guards, and the assignment system, by which the 
few free settlers who there were benefited by bond 
labour, was almost at once introduced. These new 
colonies were, however, better off in some respects 
than Sydney had been at its foundation ; for King, who 
had had every opportunity of seeing the difficulties 
surrounding the foundation of new settlements, and 
had suffered a bitter experience of the results of 
neglect and want of foresight, kept a watchful eve on 
the affairs of the young communities. Cattle were 
brought in considerable numbers from India and 
Ceylon, and all that could be done to render the 
settlements in Van Diemen's Land self-supporting 
was at once undertaken. Unfortunately the same 
miserable misunderstanding with the natives which 
so stains the early records of the continent led to 
bloodshed in Van Diemen's Land. On Bowen's 
first arrival he had been anxious to avoid any col- 
lision, and had taken no steps to open up commu- 
nication with the aboriginal inhabitants. The black 
fellows, for their part, appeared to bear the intruders 
no ill-will, and, indeed, when intercourse had been 


established, as was inevitable sooner or later, they 
were on all occasions friendly and harmless. In 
March, 1804, a notice appeared in the Sydney Gazette 
in which it was stated that the natives about the 
Derwent were " very friendly to small parties they 
meet accidentally, though they cannot be prevailed 
upon to visit the camp ; " but two months later this 
happy state of peace was rudely broken. Bowen 
was still in command of the settlement, but during 
his temporary absence, when Lieutenant Moore was 
acting for him, the first unfortunate affray occurred. 
A large body of natives, with women and children, 
appeared close to the camp (as was afterwards dis- 
covered) on a kangaroo hunt ; and Moore, antici- 
pating an attack, and being ignorant of their 
customs, assumed that their intentions were hostile. 
The soldiers were called out, and the order given to 
open fire, and some fifty blacks, men, women, and 
children, fell victims to the fear and stupidity of the 
officer in command. From this moment hopeless, 
relentless war commenced. Confidence was destroyed, 
and the native races disappeared with incredible 
rapidity before the lust and cruelty of the white man. 
Soon after the massacre at Risdon, Patterson on the 
other side of the island had also to use firearms, and 
the next few years of Tasmanian history are over- 
shadowed by deeds of unexampled brutality. In 1805 
an addition was made to the inhabitants by the arrival 
of some of the settlers from Norfolk Island, who had 
been offered land at either Risdon or Port Dalrymple, 
instead of their former holdings, when it had been 
determined to evacuate the island prison. 


The time selected for the transfer was unfortunate, 
for the four following years were most disastrous. The 
Van Diemen's Land settlements suffered terribly 
from the period of famine which afflicted all the 
Australian colonies on account of the destruction of 
crops in New South Wales by floods, and the failure 
of harvests in the year following. Matters got worse 
and worse, until kangaroo meat was the only animal 
food obtainable. Seed wheat rose to £'^ and £4. 
per bushel, and at length the public stores being 
exhausted, the prisoners were turned out into the 
woods to seek for food in any shape in which it 
could be found. In 18 10 the strain was somewhat 
relieved by the arrival of breadstuffs from India, and 
with the return of fair seasons and an increase in 
cultivation the prospects of the colony improved. 
Governor Collins died suddenly at Hobart in March, 
1 8 10, and pending the appointment of a new governor. 
Lieutenant Lord, Captain Murray, and Lieutenant- 
Colonel Giels, all in turn administered the govern- 
ment. Macquarie crossed the Straits during the 
interregnum, and indulged his craze for naming or 
re-naming places. He was well received by the 
inhabitants, and after a short but pleasant visit 
returned to New South Wales, In 181 1 Colonel 
Davey was appointed lieutenant-governor, in suc- 
cession to Collins, and the two settlements of 
Hobart and York Town were brought under one 

The arrangements for the administration of justice 
in Van Diemen's Land had hitherto been remarkable, 
for absolutely no Court had been established, and 


the most trivial offences could only be dealt with 
legally by reference to Sydney. Collins had brought 
out a judge-advocate with him to Port Phillip, but 
this gentleman's commission was not regarded as 
valid for Van Diemen's Land. He therefore declined 
to do any work, and contented himself with confining 
his labours to drawing his salary regularly for ten 
years. That a community of about three thousand 
persons should so long have put up with a judge who 
may have been ornamental but was certainly absolutely 
useless, is a remarkable fact ; but in 18 14 the incon- 
venience of having to go to Sydney to settle any 
trivial civil dispute became too great, and a " Lieu- 
tenant-Governor's Court" was established at Hobart 
Town with a jurisdiction extending to personal 
matters under the value of ;^5o. Any dispute of 
greater importance, and all criminal trials, were still 
to be dealt with in Sydney ; but the concession, so 
far as civil actions were concerned, was complete, for 
the disputants evaded the limit by dividing all their 
claims into amounts which the local court would 
be competent to try. After the arduous labours 
of Bates, the Judge-Advocate already mentioned, it 
would have been unfair to require him to undertake 
the new work which the establishment of this court 
created, so Macquarie appointed Captain Abbot to act 
as deputy Judge-Advocate, and this officer, although 
ignorant of law, seems to have given litigants fair 

During Davey's administration of the government 
much solid progress was made in industrial develop- 
ment. Wheat was exported to Sydney in 18 16, and 


the inducements held out to immigrants, in the shape 
of extensive free grants of land, produced a con- 
siderable influx of excellent colonists, many being 
possessed of the capital which was so much required. 
The finest portions of the arable land were about 
this time alienated, and settlement would probably 
have been even more satisfactory had not the country 
been overrun by bushrangers, who plundered and 
terrified the farmers. The civil and military authori- 
ties were incapable of dealing with the outlawed 
robbers, who found safe retreat in the mountain 
fastnesses, and at last things assumed such a serious 
aspect that Davey proclaimed martial law. Abbot, 
the Judge-Advocate, protested that such a step was 
illegal, and Macquarie, who would have been obliged 
in any case to ratify the proclamation, refused abso- 
lutely to sanction so extreme a course, and made 
representations to the English Government which 
resulted in the recall of the Lieutenant-Governor. 
In 1815 the knowledge of the island had been 
materially increased by the explorations of Captain 
James Kelly, who discovered Port Davey and 
Macquarie Harbour, and traversed a large portion 
of the south, west, and north coast. A rather 
amusing incident is connected with Kelly's explo- 
rations. When, after weeks of rough travelling, the 
little band of pioneers reached the settlement at 
York Town, the inhabitants, frightened by the wild 
and ragged appearance of the men, turned out in 
force to repel an attack from what they supposed to 
be a party of bushrangers ; and it was only after 
mutual explanations that the weary travellers were 


permitted to enter the town and obtain the refresh- 
ment and rest which they so much needed. 

Colonel William Sorrel was appointed Davey's 
successor, and immediately on his arrival set to work 
to check the growing terrors of bushranging. Re- 
wards were offered for the capture of bushrangers, 
and by this means many convicts and soldiers, the 
first inspired by a hope of obtaining their liberty, 
the latter by the prospect of more material gain, 
were induced to hunt down the robbers. Some of 
the stories concerning the capture of the leaders are 
of thrilling interest, and the daring and coolness dis- 
played by both pursuers and pursued make the 
records of this period read more like sensational 
novels than sober official documents. The history 
of Michael Howe is, perhaps, the most dramatic. 
Howe, a sailor by profession, was convicted of high- 
way robbery in 18 12, and transported to Hobart 
Town, where the old instinct soon asserted itself and 
drove him to the bush. He took a leading part 
in the boldest raids on settlers, but escaped all his 
would-be captors by the aid of an aboriginal girl, 
who guided him to hiding-places almost inaccessible 
to white men. A price was put upon his head, and a 
party of settlers were eager in pursuit ; but when the 
bushrangers comprising his band were at length over- 
taken, the colonists were defeated and five of their 
number killed. This was not, however, sufficient 
retaliation for Howe's party, who made an attack on 
the homestead of the leader of the settlers, in the 
hope of wreaking vengeance ; the house in the mean- 
time had been filled with soldiers, and the robbers 




met with a warmer reception than they had antici- 
pated. Many of the bushrangers were killed, and 
amongst them Whitehead, one of the leaders of the 
band. Howe thereupon severed the head from the 
trunk of Whitehead, and, bearing it with him, suc- 
cessfully fled from the arm of the law. He again 
formed his band, and, styling himself the " Governor 
of the Ranges," continued to commit crimes even 
more atrocious than before. 

But the notoriety gained by Howe caused his 
capture to be regarded as of the utmost importance, 
the reward offered being exceptionally high. Worral, 
a convict who longed for his liberty, pressed him hard. 
Flying for life through the rocky mountains, the 
black girl, worn and sick, lagged behind, and Howe, 
moved by no feelings of affection or pity for the 
woman who had followed him so faithfully, turned 
and shot her, in the hope of preventing all possibility 
of betrayal, should she be taken by his enemies. In 
his haste his pistol was ill aimed, and the woman was 
wounded but not killed, and henceforth one more was 
added to Howe's pursuers — one who was the most 
formidable of them all, for her motive was revenge, 
not gain, and all his hiding-places and habits were 
known to her. Once Howe was captured and bound, 
but he slipped his bonds and slew his two captors. 
At last Worral and a soldier named Pugh tried 
artifice, and, concealing themselves in a hut, they 
persuaded a former friend of Howe's to entice him 
into it. His enemies sprang out upon him, and a 
desperate fight began. Howe beat off his assailants 
and turned to fly. But if they could not take him 


alive, they were at any rate determined that no one 
else should ; clubbing their muskets, they dashed 
out the bushranger's brains. This story will give 
some idea of the wild life led by many of the colo- 
nists, who slept with loaded firearms by their pillows, 
ready at any moment to repulse an attack by robbers 
who were already so steeped in crime that the taking 
of a life more or less could add nothing to the penalty 
already earned. 

The war waged against the bushrangers was at 
length successful, and confidence was restored 
amongst the farmers. Some pure Merino sheep 
from Macarthur's Camden flock were imported, and 
both stock-breeding and agriculture were energeti- 
cally pushed forward. Reform was also effected at 
this time in the management of convicts. Musters 
were instituted, and stringent regulations governing 
the movements of assigned servants promulgated, 
while a penal settlement was formed at Macquarie 
Harbour, in which the worst of the prisoners were 
closely guarded. Sorrel by these means afforded no 
opportunity to the prisoners of absconding into the 
bush without their flight being at once discovered. 
In 1822 the first church, St. David's, was completed, 
but no schools were as yet in existence, and the 
standard of morality was exceedingly low. In 
Hobart there was a population of over lOOO, but the 
town was little more than a collection of mean-look- 
ing wooden huts. Trade had nevertheless greatly 
increased, and the colony showed promise of better 
things. Sorrel left Australia in 1824, and was suc- 
ceeded by Colonel George Arthur. Shortly after Van 


Diemen's Land was proclaimed an independent 
colony, and Local Legislative and Executive Councils 
were appointed. The first consisted of seven mem- 
bers, all nominated by the Crown, and the second of 
four nominees, mostly officials. One of the first acts 
of the new legislature was to pass a law to regulate 
the currency, which had become bewilderingly con- 
fused, paper, more or less worthless, and foreign coin, 
being the common circulating mediums. The anoma- 
lous condition of the administration of justice had in 
the year before been remedied, and a judge had been 
sent out from England bearing a charter establishing 
a Supreme Court of Van Diemen's Land. The Acts 
with regard to juries which were in force in New 
South Wales applied to the island, but Pidder, the 
new judge, read the law differently from Forbes, and 
rigorously excluded the emancipated class from the 
jury-box. During the previous ten years the social 
conditions of the community had greatly changed, 
and the evidences of the presence of a free population 
began to force themselves upon the Government. 
The most important of these was in regard to the 
press. After many unsuccessful attempts, a paper 
called the Hob art Tozvn Gazette had been established 
in 1 816, under official patronage, and subject to the 
Governor's control ; this periodical still lived when 
Governor Arthur took up the reins of government. 
But Bent, the editor, longed to be free from restraining 
influences, and soon fell out with the imperious 
Arthur. The result could be only one way. Arthur 
triumphed, and the Hobart Town Gazette and Van 
Diemen's Land Advertiser ceased to appear for a 



(Coa/ River Tribe.) 


time, and a Government publication, under the first 
half of the old title, took its place. In the following 
year Arthur took steps to suppress the liberty of the 
press, and succeeded in passinj^ an Act imposing a 
license fee and a stamp tax of threepence per copy 
on all newspapers. A penalty of i^ioo was incurred 
by any one publishing a paper without first having 
obtained a license, and (as was apparently intended) 
Bent soon fell a victim to the new measure, and 
posed as a martyr in gaol. But Arthur had gone too 
far, and his action gave life to a movement in favour 
of popular institutions. The King and Commons 
were petitioned for trial by jury on a more extended 
scale, as well as for government by representation ; 
an agitation at once commenced, which steadily in- 
creased till the boons craved were granted. General 
dissatisfaction was expressed at the harshness of 
Arthur's press law, and the prohibitory character of 
the stamp duty, and so strong was popular feeling 
that the Act was amended in the direction indicated. 
But although Arthur was scarcely prudent in some 
of his measures, he did much to improve the internal 
organisation of the colony. Under his direction the 
whole island was divided into police districts, each 
under a stipendiary magistrate, and no convict was 
permitted to travel from one district to another with- 
out having first obtained a permit from the magis- 
trate in charge. The commercial and financial affairs 
of the country also received attention, and Arthur 
recognised that the usury laws of England were very 
inappropriate to the very different circumstances of 
Van Diemen's Land. The question was a serious 


one ; for, had the usury laws appHed, 99 per cent, of 
the transactions of the ordinary commercial life of the 
community would have been legally punishable with 
severe penalties. Arthur took the bull by the horns, 
and boldly declared the usury law not to apply. 
The country was rapidly becoming more settled. 
Mr. Henry Hellyer in 1827 traversed the banks of the 
Arthur and Hellyer rivers, and named the Surrey and 
the Hampshire hills. The fertility of the soil, and 
suitability of the colony for agricultural and pastoral 
enterpise on a large scale, attracted the attention of 
English capitalists. In 1825 two large companies 
were formed with the object mainly of sheep farming. 
The Van Diemen's Land Company obtained by 
charter a block of 250,000 acres in the north-west 
portion of the island, and shortly after another 
100,000 acres near Emu Bay and Circular Head, and 
commenced operations in 1828. The Van Diemen's 
Land Establishment received a smaller grant of 
40,000 acres in the Norfolk Plains District, and both 
companies set to work energetically to import stock 
and improve the breed. Although bushranging had 
been considerably diminished, there were still at large 
man}^ reckless and daring robbers. In two years 
there were no less than 103 executions, and in the 
sparsely inhabited districts crime was very prevalent. 
The convicts were ever on the alert for opportunities 
of escape, and in a few instances met with success. 
The most remarkable case is perhaps that of some 
prisoners who, while being conveyed to Macquarie 
Harbour — the destination of the most incorrigible 
offenders — seized the Cypress and sailed away to 


China and Japan. On arrival near port they 
abandoned their ship, and landed in an open boat, 
representing themselves to be shipwrecked seamen ; 
and, their story being believed, they were liberally 
assisted with money to enable them to reach London. 
On their arrival in England, however, their identity 
was discovered, and some were hanged, while others 
were sent back to servitude in Van Diemen's Land. 

But the convict and bushranging difficulties had 
sunk into insignificance compared with the all- 
absorbing question of the natives. The aboriginals 
had become more used to the manners and customs 
of the white population, and had profited by their 
intercourse. They now waged war in a far more 
scientific way, and their depredations were more 
frequent and extensive. When attacking a home- 
stead they usually adopted the following tactics : — 
First, a feigned attack was made to induce the settlers 
to fire their guns, and then, before their arms could 
be reloaded, the black men rushed upon their victims 
and pierced them with their spears. There was no 
room for doubt that the cause of the hostility of 
the natives was to be found in the brutal treatment 
they had received at the hands of escaped convicts, 
and stockkeepers on distant runs. Governor Davey 
declared that " he could not have believed that British 
subjects would have so ignominiously stained the 
honour of their country and themselves, as to have 
acted in the manner they did towards the aborigines." 
Before a commission appointed by Arthur in 1830, 
blood-curdling stories of cruelty were freely told. 
One man had been punished for cutting off the 


fino'er of a native, because he wanted it for a tobacco 
stopper ; while another had murdered the husband of 
a black woman he coveted, and had compelled the 
woman to follow him with the bleeding trophy of 
the man's head hung about her neck. Could it be 
wondered at that the natives regarded a race who 
produced such inhuman brutes as these as a fitting 
object for just vengeance ? Governor after governor 
had enjoined peace and harmony between the two 
people ; but the proclamations were not worth the 
paper they were written on, for the blacks could not 
read them, and the whites totally disregarded them. 
Sorrel reminded his subjects, in 1819, that in places, 
far from settlement, the natives were unsuspicious 
and peaceable, manifesting no disposition to injure ; 
they were known moreover to be equally inoffensive 
in places where stockkeepers treated them with 
mildness and forbearance. 

The prosperity of the European population was, 
however, regarded naturally as of overwhelming 
importance, and all considerations of humanity 
had to succumb to measures of expediency. The 
day for conciliation had gone by, and Arthur's 
efforts to appease the blacks by allotting them special 
districts were unheeded. The idea had been to 
capture all natives found outside the limits of these 
districts, and replace them within the boundaries, 
but the capture parties organised for this service, with 
but few exceptions, murdered many more than they 
took, and the extreme rapidity with which the natives 
travelled enabled them to avoid their pursuers, and 
strike terror into the breasts of the settlers in lonely 


places. This dark page of Tasmanian history is 
reheved by one bright spot. A bricklayer named 
George Augustus Robinson, who was filled with 
religious zeal, offered to go unarmed among the 
natives, and endeavour to affect by peaceful means 
what the Government had failed to do by force. 
Robinson received some slight assistance from the 
authorities, but his efforts were useless while all 
round him the work of treachery and carnage was 
continued by the capture parties. At last Arthur in 
despair at the non-success of his more humane in- 
tentions with regard to his native reserves, determined 
to make one supreme effort to settle the question 
once for all. A huge body of settlers, soldiers, and 
convicts was organised to drive the natives into 
Tasman's Peninsula, the narrow neck of which was 
to be carefully guarded as soon as all the blacks had 
crossed. Twenty-six depots for provisions were 
formed, and eight hundred soldiers, as many convicts, 
and about four hundred free settlers were enrolled 
as beaters. What is known as the Black Line was 
formed, and an advance steadily made across the 
island. Gradually the line of beaters contracted, but 
when the journey was finished the natives were 
behind and not in front. By some means they had 
eluded the vigilance of the white men, and ^^"30,000 
had been expended with no result whatever. All 
that there was to be shown for the money was one 
male native and one boy, who had been captured on 
the march. This failure was perhaps fortunate, for 
Robinson was now given a fair field in which to try 
his scheme. In less than five years he successfully 


accomplished his mission, and the small remnant of 
the native race were gathered by him into one place 
by means of mutual confidence and his friendly 
persuasion. There were only two hundred and three 
survivors, all told, and they were removed to Flinders 
Island. Here Robinson did all in his power for their 
comfort, but " they died in the sulks like so many 
bears," the heartbroken relics of a people who might 
under better treatment have been capable of a high 
degree of civilisation. 

While these events were occurring considerable 
progress was made in other directions. A great 
meeting was held in 1831 to demand responsible 
government, but, like most movements of this 
character, the object aimed at was retarded by the 
want of reason and moderation displaced by its 
advocates at its inception. Free institutions in a 
bond colony such as Van Diemen's Land was at 
this time would have been grotesque. A commission 
was appointed to inquire into the titles of persons to 
landed property, and the boundaries of estates were 
properly surveyed and defined. A further concession 
was, moreover, made in connection with trial by jury ; 
and, by an enactment of the local legislature, juries 
were permitted in civil actions on the application of 
either party to the suit. Education and religion 
advanced rapidly in the later years of Arthur's 
Government, and the population improved morally 
and socially. 




The labour of convicts being used for public pur- 
poses, the construction of roads and bridges through- 
out the country was energetically proceeded with, 
and by these means internal communication became 
more regular and frequent. Ten years previously a 
foot post carried the mails once a fortnight between 
Hobart and Launceston, but now a mail cart ran 
twice a week, covering the distance, one hundred and 
twenty-one miles in about nineteen hours. Arthur 
left the colony at the end of October, 1836, and 
although his imperious nature and untiring energy 
made many enemies, he achieved much for the com- 
munity under his charge, and was generally regretted 
at his departure. The duties of acting Governor 
were performed by Lieut-Colonel Snodgrass for a 
couple of months, pending the arrival of Sir John 
Franklin, in January of the following year. But 
Snodgrass unwittingly sowed the seeds of dissension, 
and Franklin on his arrival found himself placed in 


a position from which he could not possibly extricate 
himself without giving offence to a large section of 
his subjects. It so happened that Snodgrass had 
been persuaded to convene a synod of Presbyterians 
to deal with a matter affecting the Scottish Church, 
but the recognition of any other religious denomina- 
tion gave umbrage to the Church of England, which 
claimed to be the only body which should be ac- 
knowledged by the State. On the other hand, there 
was a prospect, should it be conceded that the 
Presbyterians were under Government direction, that 
other dissenting bodies might claim similar tutilage. 
Franklin fully appreciated the difficulty, and at once 
dissolved the Presbyterian Synod, but in order that 
this action might not be misconstrued, he adopted 
Bourke's measures for granting State aid to all 
denominations, which by their own exertions might 
place themselves in a position to claim it. Franklin's 
act was too liberal, and had eventually to be amended 
on account of the frauds committed in the name of 
religion ; but the principle of tolerance contained 
in the measure has ever since been accepted through- 
out Australasia. 

It would have been difficult to have found two men 
more unlike than Franklin and his predecessor. 
Arthur was essentially strong and relentless. He 
had no pity for crime or the criminal, and justice 
under his direction took an even, if undiscriminating, 
course. Franklin, on the other hand, was filled to 
overflowing with philanthropy. With him to err was 
but human, an opportunity for Divine forgiveness. 
The result can easily be imagined. All the officers 


of the Government establishments had been trained 
to Arthur's methods, and failed to discover in 
Franklin's apparent weakness, the saving leaven of 
humanity. From the Colonial Secretary downwards 
they fought tooth and nail against the new order of 
things, and early in the day Franklin was compelled 
to get rid of his private secretary, Maconochie, whose 
theories on criminal treatment were a burlesque of 
Franklin's methods. 

But if for various reasons his reign was not an 
administrative success, Franklin nevertheless left an 
indelible mark on the social life of the island. An 
extraordinary impetus was given to science, literature, 
and all the arts. The promotion of higher education 
and the general improvement of the conditions of 
society were an object of constant attention. The 
little meetings of the Tasmanian Society in the 
library of Government House, when papers on scien- 
tific and philosophical subjects were read and dis- 
cussed, were the beginning of the present Royal 
Society of Tasmania, which has done much good 
work. A national museum and a college, which was 
intended to be a nucleusof a university, were founded. 
The popular interest in science was increased by visits 
from the French discovery ships in 1839, and the 
Erebus and Terror in 1840. Strzelecki, too, who has 
already been mentioned in connection with the dis- 
covery of gold in New South Wales, made a long 
stay in Tasmania. Her Majesty's ship Beagle was 
making a detailed survey of the coast and rivers, and 
the Fly about the same time was engaged in similar 
work ; so that the interest of colonists took a much 


higher plane, and an entirely new spirit pervaded 

Politically, however, this period was a turbulent 
one. Transportation was resumed on a large scale in 
1 84 1, and, as the influx of criminals increased, the 
free immigration correspondingly fell off. The free 
settlers began to be alarmed. Property fell in value 
and trade was depressed. The fact that it became 
necessary to pass a new insolvency law throws a 
side-light on the commercial situation, and naturally 
enough, as the shoe began to pinch, the clamour for 
responsible government was renewed with vigour. 
But the claims of the islanders were disregarded. 
When partially representative councils were granted 
to the other colonies in 1842, it was pointed out by 
the Secretary of State that no constitution could be 
conferred on Van Diemen's Land, so long as the 
majority of its population was bond ; but as one of 
the principal hopes of the agitators for the boon was 
that if legislation were placed in their hands they 
would be able to stem the tide of transportation, the 
explanation was, to say the least of it, unsatisfactory. 
In August, 1843, Sir John Franklin retired. He 
would probably have stayed longer at the helm, but 
he fell a victim to the jealousy and intrigue which 
permeated the official life of the colony. Mr. John 
Montague, the Colonial Secretary, had been dismissed 
by Franklin for insubordination. He at once went 
to England and preferred ex parte charges against the 
Governor of incompetence and injustice, with the 
result that Franklin was recalled without a chance of 
statinsf his version of the trouble. The later historv 


of Franklin is too well known to need more than 
passing mention here, for the voyage of the Ercbiis 
and Terror in search of the North-West Passage, and 
the untimely fate of the expedition, is familiar to all. 
Franklin was popular, but he was too honest and 
generous to be a success as the governor of a penal 
settlement. His memory is preserved in Hobart by 
a bronze statue, above life size, which stands in 
Franklin Square not far from the site of the old 
Government House, where he passed the troubled 
years of his uncongenial government. 

Sir John Eardley Eardley-Wilmot, Bart., arrived 
before Franklin left, and entered on a short but 
stormy term of office. The colony was in a very 
unsettled state, and the fears of the free colonist 
were increased by the transfer of the convicts from 
Norfolk Island to Van Diemen's Land. The situation 
was aggravated by financial difficulties ; for the cost 
of maintaining the huge gaols and a large army of 
police, which had become necessary, was a burthen 
greater than the settlement could bear unaided. A 
debt of ;^ 100,000 had been contracted to meet these 
expenses, and on the other hand the public revenue 
had diminished, owing to the practical cessation of 
free immigration and the consequent decline in the 
receipts from sale or lease of Crown lands. The 
Governor was confronted by a serious problem, and 
he determined to solve it by raising the ad valorem 
duties on imports from 5 to 15 per cent, and by 
imposing certain rates and tolls. The introduction 
of the necessary Bills in the Council was, however, the 
signal for more pronounced opposition on the part of 


the colonists. It was protested that the police-and- 
gaols charge was essentially unjust. If the colony 
had to receive British criminals, the very least Great 
Britain could do was to pay something towards the 
cost of keeping them in order, A second string to 
the opposition bow was that no estimates of expen- 
diture were furnished, and that it was ridiculous to 
expect the settlers to provide funds in the disburse- 
ment of which they would have no control. Although 
Wilmot may have sympathised with the arguments 
advanced, he was compelled to find the money 
somewhere to pay for the maintenance of the estab- 
lishments ; and as no better system than that already 
proposed was suggested he was obliged to try and 
force the obnoxious Bills through the legislature, 
with the aid of the official members. Although there 
was much excitement outside as well as within the 
Council Chamber, there was every prospect of the 
Governor obtaining a majority, when sudcienly six of 
the unofficial members withdrew from the Chamber, 
thus making a quorum impossible, and effectually 
blocking further business. After some time had been 
wasted in fruitless negotiations, the " Patriotic Six," 
as they were popularly called, resigned, and petitioned 
the English Government on the points at issue. They 
were regarded as martyrs to the constitutional cause, 
and made a triumphal progress through the country. 
Mr. Richard Dry, whose name will appear again in 
these pages, was met at Launceston by an admiring 
crowd, who took the horses from his vehicle and 
themselves drew it amidst the greatest enthusiasm 
through the streets of the town. The reception of the 

THE "patriotic SIX.'' 20/ 

other ex-councillors was almost equally demonstrative 
but the Governor, regardless of these popular expres- 
sions, gravely accepted the tendered resignations and 
filled the vacancies in the Council with persons who, 
if less able, were more tractable. The Bills were 
passed, but the Governor had made enemies who 
contrived his downfall. 

The financial difficulty was before long solved by 
the English Government consenting to contribute 
two-thirds of the cost of maintaining the police and 
gaols, but the news of this decision came too late 
to relieve Wilmot in his unfortunate position. In 
October, 1846, he was suddenly recalled, on account 
of unfounded and cowardly accusations made against 
his private character by one of his political opponents, 
who had returned to England. The charges were 
indignantly refuted by those who were in the best 
position to form an opinion, and a petition in 
Wilmot's favour was signed by the Chief Justice and 
all the most prominent and respectable members of 
the community. The Secretary of State was com- 
pelled to withdraw the accusations, on which the 
Governor's recall had been based, but with a strange 
want of justice declined to do anything to recompense 
the accused for the injury done him. Wilmot re- 
mained in the island, hoping against hope that his 
innocence would triumph ; but the strain and dis- 
appointment were too great, and before long he died 
broken-hearted. During his short tenure of office, 
substantial progress was made in many directions. 
In 1844 Mr. W. L. Kentish, an engineer, discovered 
the open and fertile plains in the north-west portion 


of the island, and a little later Clarke's Plains, situated 
more to the westward. 

Religion and education, which had got a firm foot- 
ing under the fostering care of Franklin, continued 
to advance, and in 1842 the colony was made an in- 
dependent diocese, and the first Bishop of Tasmania 
arrived in the following year. Mr. Latrobe came 
across from Port Phillip to take charge of the 
Government between the removal of Wilmot and 
the arrival of his successor; in January, 1847, Sir 
William Denison landed and entered on what turned 
out to be the most eventful term of office which has 
fallen to the lot of any Governor of Tasmania. The 
Secretary of State for the Colonies had learnt some- 
thing from Wilmot's financial dilemma, and an 
engineer officer had been chosen to fill the post of 
Governor, in the hope that he would succeed in ren- 
dering the labour of several thousands of convicts 
more useful than it had hitherto been. Denison at 
once took steps to pacify the ruffled feelings of the 
settlers, and the "Patriotic Six" were, after some 
slight difficulty with Wilmot's nominees, restored to 
their places in the Council ; comparative quiet having 
been thus obtained the Governor pushed on energeti- 
cally with road-making and other public works. 

But the all-absorbing question of transportation 
soon disturbed the political atmosphere. One of the 
first despatches received by Denison from Earl Grey, 
the Secretary of State, contained the words : " I have 
to inform, you that it is not the intention of Her 
Majesty's Government that transportation to Van 
Diemen's Land should be resumed at the expiration 


of the two years for which it has ah'eady been decided 
that it should be discontinued ; " and Denison, al- 
though personally favourable to the continuance of 
criminal immigration, promptly communicated this 
intelligence to the Council. Meanwhile, however, the 
English Government had changed its intentions, and 
both the despatch and Denison's announcement were 
repudiated. The colonists were indignant. An 
anti-transportation league was formed, and opposi- 
tion to the continuance of the system was vigorously 
prosecuted. The efforts of the advocates of the 
abolition of transportation were strenuously seconded 
by the supporters of the claim for representative 
government, and the success of the latter was 
regarded as the death-knell of the existing convict 
system. In 1848 Earl Grey had expressed his inten- 
tion of introducing a measure into the English Par- 
liament providing for a representative Legislative 
Assembly for Van Diemen's Land, and, although 
Denison had urged that a single chamber would 
be dangerous as " an essentially democratic spirit 
actuated the mass of the community," and that on 
this account " a second independent chamber should 
be formed," it was determined to model the new 
Council on the lines of that existing in New South 
Wales. In 1850 a Bill was passed granting in some 
degree the boon craved by the Council, two-thirds of 
the members of which were to be elected by the 
people. The first election under the .new arrange- 
ment justified the hopes of the opponents of trans- 
portation, for nearly all of the sixteen men returned 
to the Legislature were pledged to oppose as far as 



lay in their power the further introduction of convicts. 
On the 30th of December, 1 851, the Council met, and 
the first divisions taken were on the question which 
was engaging so much attention. An address to the 
Queen, protesting against the continual influx of 
criminals into the country, was carried by a large 
majority, and thenceforward the matter received con- 
stant attention until in a despatch, dated December 
14, 1852, the Duke of Newcastle (Lord Aberdeen's 
Colonial Secretary) announced that it had been 
decided to finally abolish transportation immediately. 
The last ship carrying a cargo of criminals sailed 
on the 31st of December, 1852, and in May, 1853, 
an official notification appeared in the Hobart Tozvn 
Gazette to the efifect that the colony had ceased to 
be a receptacle for the victims of British crime. 

The news was hailed with every manifestation of 
delight. The Governor was asked to proclaim a public 
holiday to commemorate the event, but, although he 
declined to do this on the grounds that it would be an 
acknowledgment of class antagonism, the holiday was 
nevertheless held. The Anti-Transportation League, 
which had during the struggle become a most power- 
ful organisation, was dissolved in 1854, and next year 
the prayer of the Council, that the name Van 
Diemen's Land should be buried with all its un- 
savoury associations, was granted, and the colony 
after half a century of troubled life entered a new and 
happier era as Tasmania. 




Events soon occurred to still further purge 
Tasmania of the criminal taint ; the enormous emi- 
gration of adult males, consequent on the discovery 
of gold in Victoria, induced a large proportion of the 
ticket-of-leave men and pardoned convicts to cross the 
straits ; and, although in 1852 payable gold was found 
near Fingal and Town Hill Creek, the phenomenal 
richness of the Victorian fields dwarfed all other 
discoveries, and the current of emigration continued 
to set steadily away from Tasmania. Those in 
authority at length became alarmed at the extent of 
the exodus from the island, and the Governor was 
urgent in his appeals to the English Government to 
replenish the exhausted labour market by sending 
out large numbers of free immigrants. Prices of the 
commonest commodities had risen to a fabulous 
height, and those whom duty or necessity tied to 
the colony underwent an exceedingly uncomfortable 
experience. In spite of the unpromising outlook and 
the great reduction in the adult male population, 


public interest in the movement in favour of repre- 
sentative government was unabated. The Legislative 
Council drew up a scheme for a new constitution the 
principal characteristics of which was the establish- 
ment of an Upper Chamber, which it was suggested 
should be elected by the whole colony on a £2$ 
freehold franchise. In the mean time the existing 
Council was increased in number from 24 to 33, the 
proportion of nominated to elected members remain- 
ing the same as formerly, and negotiation and 
discussion between the Governor and the Council 
continued with regard to the details of the proposed 
alterations. At the close of 1854, Sir William Denison 
retired from office, and was succeeded by Sir Henry 
Edward Fox Young ; shortly afterwards the royal 
assent was given to an " Act to establish a Parliament 
in Van Diemen's Land, and to grant a Civil List to 
Her Majesty." The new House of Assembly was to 
contain thirty members, elected on what was practically 
manhood suffrage, and the colony had been divided 
by the old Council into electoral districts for this 
purpose. An Upper Chamber was also formed under 
the title of Legislative Council on the basis men- 
tioned above, the number of members being limited 
to fifteen. Considerable interest was taken in the first 
elections, but in most cases the same men who had 
occupied seats in the partially nominee body were 
again returned as elected members of the new parlia- 

The first Premier was Mr. William Champ, who 
had been Denison's Colonial Secretary, but for some 
little time the life of successive ministries was ex- 


tremely short, and the legislature did not settle down 
to steady work until the reins of government were 
taken by Sir Francis Smith. The material prospects 
of the country had during these years greatly improved, 
for the irresistible attraction of the gold-fields had 
somewhat waned, and there had been a steady 
immigration of a superior class of persons acquainted 
with agricultural pursuits. The signs of reviving 
vitality and expansion soon manifested themselves. 
In 1856 the expediency of constructing a railway 
between Hobart and Launceston was seriously 
discussed, and in the following year Hobart was 
lighted by gas, and a good supply of water was 
obtained for Launceston by the completion of exten- 
sive works. Two years later a submarine cable was 
laid to Cape Otway from Circular Head and King's 
Island, and the principle of self-government was 
extended by the creation of rural municipalities to 
look after local affairs. In i860 active efforts were 
made to develop the mineral resources of the country, 
and prospecting expeditions were equipped by the 
Government, and placed under the direction of ex- 
perienced geologists. Coal had been discovered ten 
years previously in the neighbourhood of the Don, 
but, as the seams had not hitherto been extensively 
worked, experiments to test its quality were now 

The advance of education kept pace with 
material development. In 1854 a Central Board ot 
Education had been appointed, consisting of the 
Executive and Legislative Councils, but three 
years later the question of public instruction again 


attracted attention, and efforts were made to found 
a Tasmanian university. Matters were, however, 
scarcely far enough advanced to make this desirable ; 
so a compromise was effected. The old Board was 
dissolved, and an Act passed appointing a Council 
of Education with authority to grant the degree of 
Associate of Arts, and alse to vote annually to suitable 
students two scholarships worth iJ"200 each to be held 
for four years at an English university. The same 
difficulties which had been felt in New South Wales, 
in connection with State aid to religion, about this 
time called for consideration. The democratic spirit 
of the colonists was opposed to the maintenance or 
recognition of any established church, and it was 
impossible to render assistance to all denominations 
from the public treasury, first on account of the 
continued friction and jealousy which would be cer- 
tain to result, and, secondly, on account of the heavy 
strain which such a charge would be on the finances 
of the colony. A Bill authorising the Government to 
raise a loan of ;^ 100,000, to provide funds to commute 
the annual aid then paid to religious bodies was 
passed in 1859, but the measure which finally freed 
the treasury from claims on account of religious 
endowment was delayed by one cause or another 
until 1 869, when it at last received the royal assent. 

During the next few years there is little to record 
beyond the efforts made to push on public works. 
The demand of the people for roads and railways, 
and a liberal public works policy became imperative, 
so that in 1864 Parliament voted no less than ;^io6,ooo 
for roads and bridges. But the cry for railways was 


not appeased. A proposal brought forward to con- 
struct a line between Launceston and Deloraine in 
this year was rejected, on the grounds of extravagance ; 
but the persistence of the promoters at length gained 
the day, and in 1S68 the first sod of the new line was 
turned by the Duke of Edinburgh, who was then 
cruising in Australian waters. The railway was to 
be constructed under peculiar conditions, which soon 
proved unworkable. The Launceston and Western 
Railway Company were the nominal proprietors ; but 
of the total capital required the company only pro- 
vided about one-ninth part, and the Government 
advanced the rest, the interest on the ;^400,ooo thus 
lent being a first charge on the profits of the under- 
taking. Should the line be worked at a loss, it was 
agreed by the landholders of the district to be served 
that a rate should be levied to meet the obligation to 
the Government. Contrary to expectations, for the 
first two years after it was opened, the traffic receipts 
of the line barely paid working expenses, and conse- 
quently the landowners were called upon to make 
good their promise with regard to the interest on the 
^400,000. The attempt to levy the tax was met with 
violent opposition, the contributors asserting that the 
agreement had been rendered void by a concession 
which had been made to the Main Line Company 
subsequent to their signing it. Legal proceedings 
were instituted to compel payment of the rate, where- 
upon sixty-five of the magistrates who dwelt in the 
northern district petitioned the Governor, requesting 
him to intervene and cause the suspension of prosecu- 
tions. This Mr. Du Cane — the then Governor — 


declined to do, and twenty-six of the petitioners 
consequently resigned their positions on the commis- 
sion of the peace. The agitation continued for some 
time, until at length the Government agreed to take 
over the line from the company, and the angry land- 
owners were relieved from the terms of the contract 
with regard to the special rate. The Tasmanian 
Main Line Railway Company, although started under 
much more favourable conditions, fared little better 
than the Launceston and "Western. The concession 
to construct a railway from Hobart to Launceston was 
granted in 1870, but the line was not completed for 
traffic for six years. After a troubled existence, on 
account of disputes first as to the route chosen, and 
then other points of disagreement, the railway was 
recently bought by the Government for ^1,106,500, 
payable in 33- per cent inscribed stock. 

The practical failure of private companies induced 
the Government to itself undertake railway construc- 
tion, and from 1885 to the present time not a year 
has passed without some material improvement in 
the railway service of the colony. The increase in 
railways was accompanied by an equal activity in 
road-making, jetty-building, and telegraph extension, 
and these public undertakings are perhaps one of the 
surest indications of the industrial progress of the 

Allusion has already been made to the discovery of 
coal as well as the prospecting expeditions which were 
equipped at the time when the Governor dreaded the 
depopulation of the island on account of the rush to 
the Victorian gold-fields. In spite of the efforts 


then made, nothing of any very great importance 
resulted, nor had the mineral possessions of Tasmania 
much influence upon its property until the dis- 
coveries of tin at Mount Bischoff in 1871. When 
the lodes were worked. Mount Bischoff proved to be 
one of the richest tin mines in the world, and its 
opening was the commencement of much greater 
activity generally. In the following year iron ore, 
which abounds over a very large area, was worked by 
a strong company, which erected a fine plant and ex- 
pended a considerable sum of money. But unfortu- 
nately it proved impossible to produce a marketable 
article, owing to the extreme hardness and brittleness 
of the iron, due to the presence of chromium in the ore. 
It is quite possible, however, that this difficulty will be 
overcome, with the result that the iron deposits will 
be one of the most valuable possessions of the colony. 
Other metals, including gold, silver, and copper have 
been found, and to some extent worked, and there is 
every reason to believe that Tasmania, like her neigh- 
bours, contains enormous mineral wealth. 

The constitution, as originally devised, had on the 
whole worked admirably. There were of course now 
and again slight conflicts between the two houses, but 
in most instances the business of the country had not 
seriously suffered, and matters had been arranged by 
mutual concessions and co-operation. In 1870, how- 
ever, the democratic spirit— with its inherent antipathy 
to any privileges or claims based upon the posses- 
sion of property — gained the ascendency, and an 
amendment of the Constitution Act was carried, 
reducing the leasehold franchise from ^10 to £2, and 


extending the elective right to all in receipt of salary 
amounting to iJ"8o per annum. At the same time the 
number of members in the Council was increased by 
one, and in the Assembly by two. The change did not 
make any very great difference in the character of the 
Legislature, and the Council continued to act as a 
wholesome check to the Lower House. This body 
frequently displayed an ambition and enterprise in- 
volving large expenditure of money which, if not care- 
fully watched, would probably have landed the colony 
in serious difficulties. The extravagance of the 
Government did, indeed, reduce the finances to a very 
unsatisfactory condition by 1879, 3-nd led to the most 
heated contest between the two houses which has yet 
taken place. The estimates of expenditure in that 
year, as passed by the Assembly, greatly exceeded 
the estimated revenue, and the Council, when the neces- 
sary measures came before them, declined to sanction 
appropriations to meet which there would apparently 
be insufficient funds available. The Government were 
indignant, and disputed the right of the Council to 
amend " money bills ; " but the Upper House stood 
firm and refused to pass more than six months' supply 
unless the estimates were brought into harmony. The 
fight was long and bitter, and as no money could 
legally be spent uniil the Appropriation Act was 
passed, the Council, after six months of the year had 
gone by, relented so far as to grant supply for eight 
months, so that ordinary engagements could be met ; 
and Parliament was then prorogued. Ministers were 
urgent in their pra}'ers for a dissolution, but as the 
Governor refused to grant it and could not be per- 


suaded to coerce the Council, the Government resigned, 
and, a new ministry being formed by Mr. Giblin, 
the strife was ended by the imposition of fresh 
taxation, which brought the estimated income to 
approximately the same sum as it was desired to ex- 
pend. The new taxes comprised a duty of gd. in the 
pound on the annual value of real and personal estate, 
a revision of the charges at the customs house, and 
an excise duty of 3d. per gallon on beer. The 
feeling of the people was one of relief that a solution 
of the difficulty had been found before matters reached 
the extreme point which had caused so much incon- 
venience and misery in Victoria. The comparatively 
even tenor of public affairs was resumed ; no further 
importarit conflicts between the two branches of the 
Legislature took place, and no alteration in the Con- 
stitution was demanded for the next six years. By 
this time a rearrangement of electoral districts had 
become desirable, for some of the old divisions were 
unsuited to the changes which had taken place in the 
distribution of the j^eople within recent years. The 
opportunity was seized at the same time to enlarge 
both branches of the Legislature, and consequently 
the Council was raised to eighteen and the Assembly 
to thirty-six members, while the general democratic 
tendency of the country asserted itself by still further 
reducing the franchise, although what was practically 
manhood suffrage had already been established. 

It was also thought desirable that the country 
should have its own representative in London, and, 
therefore, in 1886 an Agent-General was appointed to 
transact the business of the colony in England. 



Possibly from the fact that hitherto the island has 
not been convulsed by any sudden flood of immigra- 
tion, and that the public imagination has not, to the 
same extent as elsewhere in Australia, been excited 
by the unexpected acquisition of treasure, Tasmania 
bears much greater resemblance to the old world than 
any of the other colonies. Lying to the south of 
Bass Straits its climate is cooler than that of the 
mainland, and the fruits and shrubs of the mother 
country grow luxuriantly. Agriculture, instead of 
stock-raising, is the main industry of the people, and 
the cultivation of English fruits has become an exten- 
siv^e and lucrative business. The life of the inhabi- 
tants is quiet and uneventful, and the stone-built farm 
houses, the hawthorn and sweetbriar hedges, the hop 
gardens and sunny wheat fields, remind the immi- 
grant of home. Indeed, the general appearance of 
Tasmania is that of some particularly fertile country 
district of England, which has been bodily removed 
and set amid the blue waters and smiling skies of the 
far south. 




At the beginning of the century, the activity of 
the French in the South Pacific caused King grave 
concern; and he was earnest in his representations to 
the British Government that no time should be lost in 
taking effective possession of the land to the south- 
ward of Sydney. An expedition was therefore fitted 
out in England and placed under the command of 
Colonel Collins, who has already been mentioned as 
the first Judge-Advocate of New South Wales ; 
in April, 1803, the little band set sail in the frigate 
Calcutta and the storeship Ocean. After a compara- 
tively uneventful voyage the vessels arrived off Port 
Phillip in October, and Collins, before landing his 
charges, spent two days in examining in small boats 
the land round the bay. But he was unfortunate in 
the spots visited, for he found sandy soil and shallow 
shores with an absence of fresh water at all the points 


inspected, and the reports of the other officers, whom 
he sent out to make explorations, only increased the 
unfavourable impressions he had formed. It is true 
that good land and fresh streams were believed to 
exist farther up the bay ; but Collins had a morbid fear 
of the natives, and the announcement that they had 
been met with in large numbers near the most pro- 
mising country was quite enough to make him cling 
persistently to the coast. After a few days spent in 
fruitless search, as he had received peremptory orders 
to discharge the storeship without delay on his arrival, 
the convicts, soldiers, and settlers were landed on a 
narrow neck of country forming the southern shore of 
the bay about five miles from its entrance. The only 
fresh water to be had at this place was obtained by 
sinking perforated casks in the sand, while the soil 
appeared quite unsuitable for cultivation, and the 
nearest good timber was fourteen miles away, Collins 
was very much disgusted and took a gloomy view of the 
future ; but as his settlement was subordinate to the 
Governor in Sydney, he was unable to move until 
advice and instruction from King had been obtained. 
An open boat was therefore immediately sent round 
to Sydney with a despatch pointing out the failure of 
the efforts to find a suitable spot for the new colony, 
and asking leave to transfer the settlement bodily to 
Van Diemen's Land. Meanwhile, in compliance with 
the orders he had received before leaving England, 
Collins proceeded to discharge the Ocean; but the 
work progressed slowly, for the wretched sailors and 
prisoners, who spent most of their time up to their 
waists in the sea, carrying cargo ashore, soon became 


sick from the brackish water, which was all they could 
get to drink from the casks. 

The Ocean, when empty, sailed for Port Jackson, 
picking up on the way the boat previously despatched 
by Collins ; her captain was thus able to corroborate 
the complaints which Collins's letter contained. 
Governor King had but little choice in his decision. 
Collins's prayer for permission to abandon Port Phillip 
was so urgent, and contained such a disparaging 
description of the country, that it was impossible to 
refuse ; at the same time, had he been instructed to 
remain, it would have been necessary to strengthen 
the military guard under his command to relieve him 
from fears of the natives, whilst at this moment it 
would have been madness to weaken the garrison at 
Sydney. King, therefore, though fully impressed with 
the desirability of establishing a settlement in that 
part of the country, reluctantly gave his consent, offer- 
ing Collins the choice of Port Dalrymple in the north 
or the Derwent in the south of Van Diemen's Land. 
The Ocean was sent back to take the party across the 
straits, and the Lady Nelson sailed with her to render 
such assistance as might be needed. These two 
vessels arrived at the camp in December, 1803, and 
the Calcutta at once left for Sydney. 

With all possible haste Collins packed his baggage 
and stores, and turned his back on a country of un- 
pleasant memories ; but several trips had to be made 
before the whole party could be embarked, and the 
territory was not entirely vacated till the end of 
January, 1804. 

The convicts during Collins's occupation had be- 


haved fairly well. Twelve absconded, but all but two 
returned, who had, it was supposed, fallen a prey 
to the natives. One, however, William Buckley, 
was found thirty years afterwards living on friendly 
terms with the aborigines. For more than twenty 
years the Port Phillip district was strangely neglected, 
and it was not till the glowing reports of the explora- 
tions of Messrs. Hume and Hovell, and further 
rumours of an intended French colony, had been re- 
ceived in Sydney, that the formation of a settlement 
in the country was again attempted. Unfortunately 
Hovell instead of Hume had the ear of the authori- 
ties, and the mistake he had made between Port 
Phillip and Western Port was the cause of another 
failure. Captain Wright, with a small party of 
prisoners and soldiers, and Hovell to guide them, 
landed at Western Port, but a more unsuitable spot, 
barren and unapproachable as it was, on account of 
the mud-flats lining the shores, could scarcely have 
been chosen ; when it was found that the French 
had already landed and departed, permission was 
given to the commander to withdraw, and Victoria 
was for the second time abandoned as useless and 

It is not probable that after two such failures the 
Government would have made any further effort, had 
not their hands been forced by the enterprise of some 
colonists from Van Diemen's Land. In very early 
days there had been small permanent whaling 
stations along the coast; but in 1834 the Henty 
Brothers were so favourably impressed with the 
appearance of the pasture lands behind Portland Bay 


that they determined to cross the straits from Laun- 
ceston and cultivate the unoccupied territory. Their 
father was one of those who, in 1828, had been 
attracted by the scheme for settHng Western Australia, 
and, being a man of means, had obtained a large grant 
of land in that colony. But when one of his sons had 
seen the barren wastes which were being lavishly 
granted to immigrants, he reported so adversely that 
the destination of the Henty family was changed to 
Van Diemen's Land. The father and eight sons all 
followed farming pursuits, but before long the re- 
stricted pastures of the island became too small for 
the flocks and herds, which had multiplied rapidly. 
Edward Henty, therefore, went in search of a new 
home, and settled at Portland Bay. After he had 
been living there some little time, two of his brothers 
joined him, and agriculture, stock-raising, and whaling 
were prosecuted with great success. There was, how- 
ever, one serious drawback ; for the Secretary of State, 
when applied to, refused to grant the Messrs. Henty 
any title to the lands of which they had taken posses- 
sion. In this particular case no serious inconvenience 
was experienced, for other claimants did not appear ; 
but a similar enterprise, which was undertaken a few 
years later, brought matters to a crisis, and forced the 
authorities to abandon the idea of confining occupation 
to the districts immediately surrounding the chief seat 
of government. 

In 1834 a company was formed in Tasmania to 
acquire land and engage in stock breeding at Port 
Phillip. John Batman, the promoter and leader of 
the enterprise, was a remarkable man. A native of 


New South Wales, he had crossed to Van Diemen's 
Land when httle more than a boy, and there had 
distinguished himself in the chase and capture of 
bushrangers, and later by the marked success which 
attended his efforts to subdue the aborigines by 
peaceful means. For some years he farmed, but his 
adventurous spirit was always craving for fresh 
excitement, and in 1827 he applied to the Governor 
of New South Wales for permission to occupy the 
country around Western Port. This request could 
not be granted ; to authorise detached settlements 
would have been directly contrary to the instructions 
of the Secretary of State. But the refusal in no 
way quenched Batman's aspirations, and in 1834 he 
became one of an association of eight members 
which had determined to obtain possession of the 
fertile country at Port Phillip without the sanction or 
aid of the Government. The roll of Batman's little 
company contained the names of many prominent 
and influential men in Van Diemen's Land, and the 
fact that Batman himself was to be the pioneer was 
sufficient to assure reasonable prospects of success. 
A little vessel of fifteen tons burthen, the Rebecca, 
was procured, and John Batman, taking with him 
some New South Wales blacks and a few white men, 
set sail for Port Phillip. Bad weather was met with, 
and the passage took nineteen days, but at last, on 
May 29, 1835, the weary, uncomfortable voyage was 
finished, and the little party of adventurers landed at 
Geelong. Batman was in possession of the chart 
made by Flinders of the bay and its surroundings, 
and early on the morning after his arrival he started 


off to explore on his own account. As he trod the 
rich pasture lands comparatively free from timber he 
became more and more elated, and the prospect from 
the top of the Barrabool Hills increased his favourable 
opinion of the country. 

But Batman's special mission was to purchase 
land from the natives, and on the second day after 
landing he set off in quest of some of the aboriginal 
inhabitants. Fires had been seen in the night 
some distance away, so at daybreak all haste was 
made to the spot, but the blacks had already 
left. Batman started in pursuit, and after a tiring 
journey overtook a party of about twenty women 
and a large number of children. They at first 
showed signs of fear, but appeared to understand 
the expressions of amicable intentions which were 
made by the New South Wales natives, and allowed 
the visitors to approach. The usual presents of 
trinkets, looking-glasses, &c., were made, and Batman, 
having sown the seeds of friendship, returned to his 
camp. Explorations were continued for the next few 
days, and then the Rebecca was brought further up 
the bay and moored off the mouth of the Yarra. 
With fourteen companions armed for any emergency. 
Batman commenced to walk along the left bank of 
the river, but after he had travelled a little way his 
course was interrupted by a tributary stream. Two 
days they marched along through glorious pastures, 
and towards the close of the second day, to their 
delight, saw the smoke of fires ascending in the 
distance to the south-east. Eagerly they pushed on 
in the hope of coming up with the natives, and before 


many miles had been covered overtook a man, woman, 
and three children. To their satisfaction they learned 
that the previous intercourse with the women had 
been discussed, and when the natives led them to the 
main camp of the tribe, on the banks of the Merri 
Creek, they were received with manifestations of 
friendship. After spending a night amongst the 
blacks, Batman next day proceeded to business, and 
had little difficulty in effecting an advantageous 
purchase. Skeleton parchment deeds had been made 
out in Hobart before starting, so only a few descrip- 
tive details had to be added, and then a contract 
between Batman, three brothers called Jaga-Jaga, 
and the chiefs of the Dutigalla tribe was duly signed 
and sealed by the persons interested, and Batman 
obtained possession, as he thought, of all the country 
from Indented Head to Merri Creek, or about 600,000 
acres of fine pasture, in exchange for some trinkets 
and an annual tribute of blankets. 

Having accomplished his mission, he bade farewell 
to the natives, and started to retrace his steps, but 
before he had travelled far he was confronted by an 
extensive swamp and, being overtaken by darkness, 
had to pass the night on its borders ; in the 
morning, while making a circuit to avoid it, he came 
upon the Yarra, and eventually reached the Rebecca. 
The next day was spent in an examination of the 
river, and Batman selected the present site of 
Melbourne as the best place for a village. On his 
return the Rebecca was taken down to Indented Head 
again, where three whites and the New South Wales 
natives were landed to retain possession of the newly- 


acquired property and commence cultivation. The 
remainder of the party sailed for Hobart to give a 
report of their proceedings to the other members of 
the association, who were anxiously awaiting their 
return. Batman's account of his experiences created 
a great sensation in Van Diemen's Land, and many 
of the colonists at once commenced to formulate 
schemes for following his example and settling in the 
fertile country across the straits. The members of 
Batman's association were not, however, quite easy in 
their minds, and all along they appear to have had 
doubts of the validity of the formidable looking 
parchment deeds which represented their title to the 
land. These deeds had been prepared and signed in 
triplicate, and one copy was sent to the Governor on 
the 25th of June with a request, which was influentially 
supported, that he should do all in his power to cause 
the claim of Batman and his friends to be recognised 
by the authorities. On the 3rd of the following 
month Arthur gave his answer. In the first place, 
he pointed out. Port Phillip was outside his jurisdic- 
tion, so that, even were he willing, he could do but 
little to help them ; and he further warned them that 
the total disregard of any proprietary interest of the 
natives, evinced by the legislation in regard to South 
Australia, was pretty conclusive evidence that a claim 
based on an alleged sale by the natives would 
command little respect in England. At the same 
time, Arthur wrote strongly to the Secretary of State, 
requesting immediate attention, and some definite 
instructions with regard to the novel problems which 
were presenting themselves to the Government. 


But, although ownership of property acquired in 
Port PhiUip was questionable, this unsatisfactory 
circumstance was not sufficient to prevent many 
persons from going there. The most important 
expedition was arranged by John Pascoe Fawkner, 
who had been one of the children in the party which 
landed at the time of Collins's abortive attempt to form 
a colony in 1803. Fawkner's idea was to pursue at 
Western Port much the same policy as Batman had 
followed at Port Phillip, and a schooner, the Enter- 
prise, was procured and loaded with stock, implements, 
seeds, fruit trees, and plants, and everything else 
which appeared necessary to equip a small agricultural 
and pastoral station. On July 27, 1835, the Enterprise 
left Launceston, but she almost immediately fell in 
with very bad weather, and after knocking about for 
three days was still close to the Tasmanian coast. 
Fawkner by this time was so worn out with sea- 
sickness that he was put ashore, and the voyage was 
resumed under the command of Captain Lancey. 
Western Port was at length reached in safety, but, as 
the intending settlers were displeased with the ap- 
pearance of the place, anchor was again weighed, 
and the Enterprise headed for Port Phillip. Captain 
Lancey sailed his ship right up to the Yarra's mouth, 
and then, entering a rowing boat, proceeded up the 
stream. They first went up the Saltwater, but 
retraced their course, and, again entering the Yarra, 
camped at the spot which Batman had marked as 
a suitable site for a village. The place seemed to 
exactly meet their requirements, so next day the 
Enterprise was warped up and made fast to the trees, 


and the cargo carefully landed. The whoie party at 
once set to work to clear the ground and prepare it 
for cultivation ; they were busily engaged in this 
way when they were suddenly interrupted by the 
appearance on the scene of Mr. Wedge, one of 
Batman's partners, who informed them that they 
were trespassing on the company's property. Wedge 
endeavoured to prove his title, but Captain Lancey 
ridiculed the deed, and fell to work again at clearing 
and ploughing. Wedge, being then unable to do 
anything more, retired, but in a few days returned 
with his whole party to forcibly assert his claim to 
the land which Lancey was occupying. Matters 
began to assume rather a serious aspect, when the 
rival companies camped side by side, but at length 
the first-comers prevailed upon Lancey to accept i^20 
and cross to the other side of the stream. Not long 
afterwards, however, Fawkner arrived with more men 
and materials, and as by this time the events which 
are about to be recorded had upset Batman's claim, 
the river was once more crossed and the old site 
again occupied. 

Although Fawkner was the principal, he was not the 
only man who determined to make the Port Phillip 
district his home, and numerous little bands settled 
on the territory within twelve months of Batman's 
return to Van Diemen's Land. The prospect of 
grave difficulties arising unless some proper system 
of survey and sale of land were immediately intro- 
duced, caused the Governor of New South Wales, 
Sir Richard Bourke, to issue a proclamation without 
waiting for the decision of the Secretary of State, 


in answer to Governor Arthur's despatch from 
Van Diemen's Land. Batman's treaty with the 
natives was, Bourke declared, void as against the 
rights of the Crown, and all persons occupying land 
in the Port Phillip district were trespassers unless 
they were possessed of the ordinary license from the 
Government. The situation was a perplexing one, 
for a proposal of Bourke's to form a small settlement 
at Twofold Bay on the south coast of New South 
Wales had just been rejected by the Secretary of 
State, on the grounds that the endeavour should be 
to concentrate the population and not to scatter it 
over a wide area, principally for the reason that 
if the limits of occupation were restricted it was 
believed the cost of the administration of justice and 
general government would be smaller. Of course it 
was simple enough for a governor to refrain from 
forming new posts ; but what was to be done when the 
new posts formed themselves, and then demanded the 
protection and administrative benefits enjoyed by the 
rest of the community ? As Bourke pointed out to 
the Secretary of State, the question had now become, 
how best to direct this new development in coloni- 
sation, not how to prevent the settlement of the 
territory. Pending other arrangements, the inhabi- 
tants had themselves selected one of their number as 
arbitrator in disputes, and the need for some action 
by the executive was so evident that Bourke sent 
down a magistrate, Mr, George Stewart, to report, 
and (on his recommendation) appointed Captain 
Lonsdale resident magistrate, supplying him with a 
small detachment of soldiers to enforce his awards 

batman's treaty declared void. 


and maintain order. This done he awaited de- 
spatches from the Secretary of State, which in due 
course arrived, and were practically to the effect that 
the English Government were at a loss as to the best 
method of dealing with a question so " novel and 
peculiar," and were content to leave the matter to 
his discretion. Under these circumstances, Bourke 
thought it advisable to visit the new dependency 
himself, and accordingly in 1837 he journeyed to Port 
Phillip. The settlers who now numbered from sixty 
to seventy families, welcomed him with enthusiasm, 
and he laid out and named the streets of a town 
which he called Melbourne, in honour of the Prime 
Minister of the English Government. Bourke was 
impressed with the prospects of the Port Phillip 
colony, and on his return recommended the Secretary 
of State to appoint a Lieutenant-Governor or Com- 
mandant, advice which was before long followed. At 
the same time he considered that if the inhabitants 
desired legislative representation, they should be re- 
quired to elect members to attend the sessions of the 
Council in Sydney. 




Under the title of Superintendent, Mr. Latrobe 
was sent out in 1839 to take charge of the Port 
Phillip settlement. For the population had been 
largely augmented by immigration, and new towns 
at Geelong and Williamstown had been formed. 
Evidences of the rapidly increasing trade and social 
requirements of the people were to be found in the 
fact that two Sydney banks had opened branches in 
Melbourne, in addition to the establishment of a local 
bank, and two newspapers, under the titles of the Mel- 
bourne Daily Nezvs and Port Phillip Patriot and the 
Po7't Phillip Gazette, had succeeded a very primitive 
journal called the Advertiser. Latrobe's position was 
not an easy one, for administrative difficulties were con- 
tinually appearing in the Government of a community 
which more than doubled itself annually. The most 
unsatisfactory matter was the inability of the author- 
ities to keep pace in survey with the demand for land. 
In June, 1837, the first sale of half-acre town allotments 
took place, by the direction of Bourke, when the 



average price obtained was i^35, and a few months 
later a second sale was held, at which values were 
about the same. By these means the immediate needs 
of the urban population were met, but the staff of 
surveyors and draftsmen at Latrobe's disposal was 
quite incapable of keeping pace with the applications 
for runs, while the frequent changes in the orders-in- 
Council relating to the sale and occupation of Crown 
lands, threw matters into still worse confusion. Port 
Phillip did not escape the consequences of too great 
prosperity, and for a short time had to submit to the 
chastening influences of depression caused by reckless 

But nature was too bountiful to permit the stag- 
nation to last long, and the rapidity with, which the 
settlement grew almost justified the settlers in giving 
way to the temptation to speculate. It is needless, here, 
to follow the frequent and often unreasonable changes 
in the land laws which took place about this time, for 
all the colonies were treated with a diluted " Wake- 
field system," but in doses too weak to give a fair 
trial to the theory, and applied with a singular want 
of discrimination. In 1842 an Act had been passed 
in the English Parliament granting the inhabitants of 
Port Phillip authority to elect six representatives in 
the Legislature of New South Wales. But although 
this arrangement met every reasonable requirement, 
it was not sufficiently liberal to satisfy the ambition 
of the new colony. An agitation for total separation 
from New South Wales had commenced in the very 
infancy of the community, and in 1844 this movement 
took concrete form in a resolution submitted by Dr. 


Lang, one of the members for Port Phillip in the 
Legislative Council in Sydney. Dr. Lang moved that 
the immediate erection of the Port Phillip district into 
a separate colony was advisable, but the motion was 
rejected by a very large majority, and the inhabitants 
understood that they would get little aid from New 
South Wales in their efforts at dismemberment. Hav- 
ing failed to obtain their way in a decorous manner, by 
an expression of opinion in the legislative chamber, a 
section of the population determined to call the atten- 
tion of the authorities in England to their grievance 
in a somewhat remarkable fashion. It was intended to 
spurn their right of representation in Sydney as useless 
and worthless, and to nominate no one for the posi- 
tions at the next election. This plan was, however, 
frustrated by the appearance of one candidate, duly 
proposed ; as he declined to withdraw, and would 
be elected were no opposition offered, the policy of 
the malcontents was suddenly changed, and " the 
Right Honourable Henry Grey, Earl Grey, in the 
peerage of Great Britain," the then Secretary of State 
for the Colonies, was nominated as his opponent. 
The burlesque was successful, and Earl Grey obtained 
a majority of 193 votes in a total poll of 397 ; but 
such a ridiculous result could hardly be expected to 
be gravely accepted by the Governor, and Sir Charles 
Fitzroy promptly declared the election void, and 
issued a fresh writ making Geelong instead of Mel- 
bourne the place of nomination. An attempt was 
made to re-enact the same farce on this occasion, and 
the Duke of Wellington, Lords Palmerston, Brougham, 
and Russell, and Sir Robert Peel were named as 


candidates ; but, fortunately, some local men were 
also nominated and returned at the head of the poll. 
But the comedians had in a measure achieved their 
end, for the attention of the Secretary of State was 
called to their complaint, and a select committee 
appointed to inquire into the matter, which recom- 
mended that the provinces should be separated. Earl 
Grey promised to give effect to their recommendation, 
but the Government of which he was a member going 
out of office, the necessary legislation was delayed, 
much to the disgust of the impatient agitators in 
Melbourne. At length, in 1850, an Act was passed 
authorising the division which was so much desired, 
and news of the intended step was welcomed through- 
out the Port Phillip district by general public rejoicing. 
Mr. Latrobe was appointed first Governor of " Vic- 
toria," as the new colony was called and the pre- 
liminary arrangements necessary for establishing a 
local legislature were placed in the hands of the 
Sydney Council. 

Shortly before independence had been effected, the 
discoveries of gold in New South Wales threatened 
to depopulate its ambitious offspring, and Latrobe 
found his subjects rapidly diminishing in numbers. 
It seemed that the only hope of counteracting the 
superior attractions of the mother colony was for 
gold to be found in Victoria also ; and public meet- 
ings were held in Melbourne, at which a " Gold Dis- 
covery Committee " was formed to encourage search 
for the mineral within the boundaries of Victoria, by 
offering ;^200 as a reward to any one who should 
bring the first news of the existence of a payable 


gold-field within two hundred miles of Melbourne. 
The inducement was sufficient to cause many people 
to start out on prospecting expeditions, and before 
long the precious metal was discovered in several 
places. Rumours of the presence of gold in Victoria 
had been heard previously, and a man who described 
himself as a shepherd had in 1849 brought to Mel- 
bourne a rich quartz specimen, which he alleged he 
had obtained on the Pyrenees Range ; his story, 
however, was discredited, and the matter was never 
followed up. Mr. Campbell, while staying with 
a friend at Clunes, found gold in March, 1850, but 
kept the matter secret until July, 185 1, when gold 
was obtained in the Yarra Ranges, at Anderson's 
Creek, and in the quartz rocks of the Pyrenees. In 
August the famous Ballaarat fields were discovered, 
and in the beginning of September news of the finds 
near Mount Alexander was made public. By the 
end of September, 185 1, the tide of migration had 
completely turned, and thousands of greedy fortune- 
seekers poured into the colony by land and sea. As 
the extraordinary wealth, first of Ballaarat, then of 
Mount Alexander, and a little later of Bendigo, 
became known, the crowds which trudged along the 
muddy, dusty tracks to these places rapidly grew 
larger and larger. In the autumn of 1852 fully 
seventy thousand men were grubbing for gold, and at 
the diggings the soil for miles had been plundered of 
its treasure. Before there was any diminution in the 
stream of immigrants from the other colonies, the 
flood was swollen by hundreds of thousands of men 
who came from Europe and America. In 1840 there 


had been under 10,300 people within the Hmits of 
Victoria; by 1850 the fertiHty of the soil had attracted 
about 76,200 ; but five years later the population had 
grown to 364,300, consequent upon the rush to the 
gold-fields. At this time there were nearly twice as 
mau}^ men as women in the country, and the acces- 
sion to the population comprised many very unde- 
sirable elements. 

The situation in Victoria was very different to 
that in the parent colony. For one thing, in Victoria 
the original population at the time of the discovery 
of gold was far smaller, so that it was more difficult 
for the government to suddenly be adjusted to meet 
the changed circumstances. The gold-fields in Vic- 
toria, moreover, were rriuch more compact, and being 
nearer to the coast more easily reached. Conse- 
quently, shortly after the first rich finds, enormous 
numbers of people collected in comparatively re- 
stricted areas. On the banks of the Yarrowee at 
Ballaarat, for instance, there were at one time about 
forty thousand men encamped. About twenty-five 
thousand more were round Mount Alexander, and at 
the Bendigo diggings fully forty thousand miners had 
gathered. The machinery of government very soon 
proved utterly inadequate to the duties it was called 
upon to perform. Had the inhabitants of these 
camps been ordinary orderly citizens, the administra- 
tion of affairs would have entailed organisation and 
care, but in communities so strongly leavened with 
criminals and reckless vagabonds, the maintenance 
of order and the law became hopeless. While Tas- 
mania was purged of the worst portion of its crime- 



stained inhabitants by the gold-rush, the motley 
crowd, which swarmed like ants over the mud-heaps 
at the diggings, contained even more unruly cha- 
racters than the Tasmanians. Latrobe seems from 
the first to have realised the gravity of the situation ; 
but he had no really capable men at hand to help him, 
and, however great his personal exertions might be, the 
formation of governing machinery out of nothing, for 
a population that doubled itself each year, was a task 
beyond his powers. From the commencement the 
regulations and licensing arrangements which had 
been formulated by Deas Thompson for New South 
Wales were adopted by Latrobe, but though they 
might be satisfactorily worked with a comparatively 
small collection of men, they were quite unsuitable 
to the turbulent crowds which had gathered at 
Ballaarat and Bendigo. The monthly inspection of 
the licenses of forty thousand unwilling men is a by 
no means light task, and the system adopted was 
open to very great abuse in its application. Those 
who had licenses objected strongly to being con- 
stantly required to produce them to satisfy suspicious 
officials, while those who had not licenses had but 
little difficulty in secreting themselves and evading 
the activity of troopers. Acts of riot and lawlessness 
were before long not infrequent. Bushranging be- 
came common. The gold escorts were waylaid and 
robbed after the troopers who were protecting them 
had been shot. Even vessels in the harbour were 
attacked and plundered. 

Much of this crime was traced to the Tasmanians, 
and special legislation was passed to protect the 


colony from further inroads from this quarter. By 
the Convicts Prevention Act of 1852 all persons 
coming from Tasmania were required to prove that 
they were not convicts before they were permitted to 
land, and the captain of any vessel which conveyed a 
convict to a Victorian port was made liable to a fine 
of ;^ioo. But it was too late to take protective 
measures ; the harm had already been done ; and all 
the undesirable people from Tasmania who could by 
hook or by crook get a passage across the straits had 
arrived. A spirit of discontent was inseparable from 
the miner's occupation. The very good fortune of 
some bred dissatisfaction in the breasts of others, and 
the anger of those who had toiled all day in the heat 
to wash out next to nothing was but natural when 
they were pounced upon by the police and com- 
manded to show their license. Some men of course 
were doing well, and at one time probably many 
were winning from ;^40 to ^50 worth of gold a day ; 
but for every stroke of luck there must have been 
many bitter disappointments. The life of a miner 
was rough in the extreme, and a large proportion of 
those who flocked to the diggings were quite unpre- 
pared for the hardships and discomforts with which 
they had to contend. 

The crowd at the gold-fields was comprised of men 
of every class and nearly every nationality. The 
banks of the Yarrowee presented a strange appear- 
ance, with the eager line of men standing shoulder 
to shoulder, washing in the muddy water the dirt 
brought them from time to time by a companion. 
A little further back the earth was cut into in- 


numerable holes, flanked by great mounds of red soil, 
in and around which men busily ran or dug with 
feverish energy. At night the scene was even more 
weirdly curious, for the glaring lights of the theatres 
and grog shanties joined with the flaring torches and 
fires of the miners in throwing into strong relief the 
shadows of the tents and their wild surroundings. 
Above all rose the hum of a city, broken now and 
again b}^ bursts of noisy revelry. Wealth easily won 
was as readily squandered, and the lucky digger 
showered gold with a free hand. Prices were exorbi- 
tant, for the miner drunk with fortune seldom asked 
for change, and the style of living generally was reck- 
lessly extravagant. 

The oppressive prosperity of their neighbours, how- 
ever, caused discontent on the part of those on whom 
fate had not yet smiled, and the feeling of irritation 
against the authorities was augmented by the scramb- 
ling, inefficient administration of the law. Twice a 
week " digger hunts " were held by the police, and all 
miners who could not produce their licenses were 
seized and taken off to the commissioners' camp, 
being usually chained to the surrounding trees, until 
that official was ready to deal with them. Often 
their tents were burnt by the police, and not infre- 
quently mistakes were made and flagrant injustice 
perpetrated upon those who had hitherto obeyed the 
law. While the feeling at the gold-fields was in this 
irritable state, the Government blindly endeavoured 
to double the license fee, which even then was costing 
more than its value to collect. Latrobe's new execu- 
tive council considered that in view of the large 


extra expenditure involved in the regulation and 
maintenance of order at the gold-fields, the sum of 
thirty shillings per month was not a sufficiently large 
contribution to the public revenue by those who were 
so rapidly winning fortunes from the soil. Oblivious 
of the unfortunates who had suffered and toiled in 
vain, Latrobe was urged to raise the monthly fee for 
a permit to dig for gold to £2. A notice was there- 
fore promulgated in the Government Gazette, in 
December, 185 1, to the effect that from the com- 
mencement of the following year the increased rate 
would be demanded. It was also hoped that by this 
step many would be induced to desert the diggings 
for more settled occupation ; for all other industries 
were crippled by the dearth of labour, and prices 
and wages in the towns and indeed throughout the 
settlement had risen to unheard-of figures. Even at 
the ruinous rates offered it was impossible to obtain 
servants, so that every one, the most wealthy in- 
cluded, had to perform the meanest domestic offices 
for themselves ; while it was probable that, unless 
some change were effected, the coming harvest would 
remain ungarnered, and the flocks unshorn. Com- 
munication with England and elsewhere was almost 
completely suspended. No sooner did a vessel let go 
her anchor in Hobson's Bay than the crew deserted 
and went to try their fortunes at the diggings. 

All sorts of strong measures to prevent the de- 
population of the towns were urged upon the be- 
wildered governor, but they were all impracticable, 
and the raising of the license fee was the only expe- 
dient which could be resorted to with the remotest 


prospect of success. But at Bendigo, Ballaarat, and 
elsewhere there were men only waiting for a favour- 
able opportunity to defy a government which they 
knew was weak, and towards which they had no feel- 
ings of loyalty or respect. A few days after the pub- 
lication of the Gazette notice meetings were held near 
Mount Alexander, and language was used which 
augured ill for the maintenance of order in the future. 
So hostile did the mining population appear that the 
Government was filled with apprehension, for in the 
case of any serious opposition being offered to the col- 
lection of the tax there was not sufficient force avail- 
able to compel it. Latrobe's advisers wavered. On 
the 15th of December a meeting numbering from 
twelve to fourteen thousand persons was held at 
Forest Creek, and a few days afterwards a similar 
gathering assembled at Geelong. The proposed fee 
was denounced as exorbitant and tyrannical, and the 
exaction of any fee whatever from miners was described 
as an imposition of an iniquitous " capitation tax on 
labour." This turned the scale, and the Government 
on the 13th of December withdrew the notice which 
had produced the storm. 

Latrobe recognised the serious blow that had been 
struck at the authority of government, but he was 
thankful for the comparative peace which followed 
capitulation. By this time the population had increased 
enormously, and the extravagance of the miners had 
made trade so profitable that many were induced to 
forego the diggings and cater for the wants of their 
inhabitants. Prices remained high, but a develop- 
ment of other industries took place more commen- 



surate with the growth of the community. The flood 
of immigrants continued to flow as strongly as ever 
towards the shores of Victoria, and the hotels and 
accommodation houses in Melbourne were quite in- 
sufficient to provide shelter for the crowds of new- 
comers. In the reserves and open spaces the ad- 
venturers pitched their tents, but as at these canvas 
towns there were no sanitary provisions, and no proper 
control, cleanliness and even ordinary decency were 
an impossibility. At length the miseries of the im- 
migrants, many of whom found themselves on land- 
ing in the midst of surroundings utterly different to 
anything they had expected, excited the pity and 
benevolence of the other residents. Temporary 
shelters were erected to house the families who could 
find no accommodation, and hulks in the bay were 
secured for the use of single women. The cost of 
these arrangements were partly borne by the Govern- 
ment and partly defrayed out of private contri- 




In 1852 a despatch was received from the Secretary 
of State for the Colonies announcing that the EngHsh 
Government had determined to hand over to the 
various provinces the revenue derived from gold, 
since it was thought that the increased cost of govern- 
ment on account of the gold-fields would make it 
necessary for all the colonies affected to largely 
increase the charge for police, as well as the ex- 
penditure for general purposes. At the same time 
Latrobe's prayer for reinforcements was complied 
with, and fifty police were despatched from England 
and a man-of-war ordered round to Hobson's Bay. 
These additions to the local forces were sorely needed, 
for the difficulty of guarding the traffic on the roads 
to and from the gold-fields had been increased by 
the opening of the Oven's diggings in June, and the 
spirit of resistance, which had grown greatly since 
the concessions with regard to the increase to the 
license fee, made it necessary for the authorities to 
be continually in readiness to quell anticipated out- 


breaks. Latrobe longed to be free from the necessity 
of collecting a tax which was expensive and odious 
to its contributors, and, with this end in view, recom- 
mended that an export duty on gold should be 
substituted for the license fee, only such an amount 
being charged for a license as would ensure the 
registration of those authorised to dig for gold. The 
Export Duty Bill was introduced, and got as far as 
the second reading in the Council, but at the diggings 
the Governor's actions were misrepresented and used 
as a further incentive to riot. Meetings were held 
at Forest Creek, at which it was determined to refuse 
to pay any license fee at all if an export duty were 
charged ; and at other places, more especially at 
Oven's, crowds began to get alarmingly insubordinate. 
Members became frightened, and the Bill, which was 
the beginning of the disaster which clouded Sir 
Charles Hotham's rule, was shelved. 

A serious disturbance took place early in the 
following year at Forest Creek. It was caused by 
a mistake on the part of the police, who burnt 
the tent of an innocent man under the impression 
that he was engaged in illicit selling of spirits. 
His friends and associates were justly indignant 
and the ever ready agitators saw their chance. 
Meetings to denounce the authorities were held. 
Inflammatory notices were posted all over the dig- 
gings, but it was evident that a desire for a rupture 
with the Government was quite as strong a motive 
with the leaders as any sympathy with the sufferer. 
The man whose tent had been destroyed was com- 
pensated ; but further signs of discontent followed. 


At the beginning of August, a deputation from 
Castlemaine and Bendigo waited upon Latrobe to 
make certain complaints and requests, which were 
very hke threats and demands. The license fee they 
said must be immediately reduced to los. a month, 
paid monthly or quarterly at the option of the licensee ; 
facilities should be given to miners for the purchase 
of land for cultivation, and the mining population 
should be directly represented in the Legislature. 
Latrobe said he would consider what they had laid 
before him, but the deputation, disappointed at 
not having obtained some definite undertaking 
from the Governor, called a public meeting in Mel- 
bourne, which was largely attended, and was cha- 
racterised by speeches of greater violence than 
wisdom. At Bendigo it was decided to take united 
action to force a reduction of the fee. It was de- 
termined that a few men should tender los. to the 
Commission for the September license, and that the 
others should abstain from taking out any license at 
all until a favourable decision by the Government had 
been arrived at. On the day on which the fees were 
payable, Latrobe promulgated a lengthy reply to the 
deputation. He pointed out that whereas the direct 
cost of administering the gold-fields had amounted 
so far to ;^6oo,ooo, the revenue derived from licenses 
and gold export had only amounted to a little over 
;^46o,ooo ; so that the demand for smaller taxation 
was unreasonable, while, moreover, it was not in his 
power to alter the amount until a law had been 
passed by the Council. Latrobe appears to have 
,been sanguine that his reasoning would be heeded. 


and expressed to the Secretary of State a belief that 
" the license for September, notwithstanding all the 
parade of resistance, would be taken out without 
any extraordinary compulsory measures being had 
recourse to." 

Nevertheless, he thought it desirable to at once 
send reinforcements to the disaffected district, and 
as a further sop to the aggrieved diggers a resident 
of Bendigo was nominated to the Council. But this 
gentleman was unfortunately repudiated by those 
whom he was supposed to represent, and resigned. 
On August the 27th, a procession containing about 
two thousand persons marched by the Commissioner's 
camp, and fired shots into the air as a menace, while 
those deputed to tender the los. fee performed their 
part. Their attitude was determined, and the Chief 
Gold Commissioner and the Chief Commissioner of 
Police sent off in hot haste to Latrobe to report what 
had occurred, and to urge that " the reduction of the 
license fee, if not its abolition altogether, is inevitable." 
That the miners would bitterly resist any attempt to 
collect the prescribed 30s. was evident, and the 
scared officials trembled to think what would happen 
" if blood should once be shed." With such advice 
from those whose duty it would be to enforce the 
law, Latrobe yielded. Instructions were sent hurriedly 
to Bendigo that no attempt was to be made to assert 
the power of the Government. If the miners refused 
to pay the fee no steps were to be taken to compel 
them, although Colonel Valiant, with one hundred 
and fifty of the 40th Regiment was sent to take 
command so that fully four hundred and fifty 


police and soldiers were on the field. To take 
the places of the soldiers thus withdrawn from 
Melbourne the Electro, landed marines and blue 
jackets to guard the gaol, and Latrobe appealed to 
Sydney and Hobart for reinforcements. In both 
cases, men were promptly despatched to his aid, but 
as by the time they arrived the diggers and not the 
Government ruled the colony, they had but little to 
do. A meeting was held in Melbourne, at which the 
Governor was grimly congratulated on his surrender, 
and affairs lapsed into the ominous tranquillity which 
preceded a more violent storm. Latrobe had long 
come to the conclusion that he was unsuccessful. 
Although he had bravely done his best, he was not 
strong nor determined enough for the difficult position 
which he occupied ; and when permission to retire 
from the Government was granted, he gladly left a 
charge which was beset with financial and revo- 
lutionary difficulties. 

Sir Charles Hotham, a distinguished officer, was 
appointed to succeed him, and arrived in the colony 
in June, 1854. 

There were many matters requiring Hotham's 
immediate attention. The financial position was 
critical. The estimates of expenditure for the year 
exceeded the anticipated revenue by a third, and 
already there was a deficit of over ;^ 1,000,000. Even 
the estimate of revenue showed no likelihood of being 
realised, unless great reforms were introduced. In all 
the public departments, the most scandalous waste 
and mismanagement was going on, and although 
there were fully 60,000 men at the diggings, only 


14,000 licenses had been taken out for June. In July 
the Chief Commissioner was directed to pay more 
attention to the collection of the fees, and a sub- 
stantial increase took place, but the sum obtained was 
still under one-third of what might reasonably have 
been expected. In September, Hotham urged the 
Commissioner to make a further effort, and ordered 
that the Assistant Commissioner should twice a week 
" search for unlicensed miners " ; and he himself made 
a tour of the gold-fields to see with his own eyes the 
people and the officials with whom he had to deal. 
Wherever he went he was enthusiastically received, 
but hardly had he returned to Melbourne when a 
drunken brawl produced the outbreak which had 
been hovering on the horizon for years. 

A miner named James Scobie fell out in the early 
hours of the morning of the 6th of October with 
one Bently, a Tasmanian ex-convict, who kept a 
disreputable publichouse at Ballaarat, known as 
the Eureka Hotel. In a scrimmage Scobie was 
killed. Bently, his wife, and a man named Farrell 
were arrested and tried before the local bench of 
magistrates, of which Mr. Dewes was the chairman. 
They were acquitted, although the evidence against 
some of them was strong, and the apparent perversion 
of justice aroused a tumult in which the friends of 
Scobie swore that they would themselves punish 
Bently for the murder since the law courts were 
corrupt. On the 17th of October, thousands of in- 
furiated men surrounded the Eureka Hotel, which 
was quickly pillaged and burnt to the ground. The 
inmates narrowly escaped destruction, and were only 


saved from the vengeance of the mob by the 
military and police. Hotham saw that something 
must be done at once to allay the irritation, and 
offered a reward for the capture of Scobie's murderers, 
and appointed a commissioner to inquire into the 
charges against Dewes. Bently and two other men 
were again arrested, and this time convicted and 
heavily sentenced ; and three of the rioters at Bently's 
Hotel also suffered short terms of imprisonment for 
their share in the riot. Hotham remembered La- 
trobe's experience at Bendigo, and determined to 
make preparations for the worst, as in the present 
temper of the miners it was difficult to foretell how 
serious the worst might be. By October 21st, 430 
military and police had been collected at Ballaarat, 
under Captain J. W. Thomas of the 40th Regiment, 
who was instructed to enforce the law " when called 
upon to do so, without regard to the consequences 
which might ensue." At the diggings the storm was 
gathering rapidly. A " Reform League " was formed, 
and a deputation despatched to the Governor to 
" demand " the release of the three imprisoned rioters. 
But Hotham was not so pliable as Latrobe, and the 
menace implied in " demand " had no effect upon 

A commission had already been appointed to 
make full inquiry into the administration of the 
gold-fields, and Hotham referred the miners' delegates 
to that body promising to give effect to its recom- 
mendations. In other matters brought before him 
he expressed a desire to meet the views of the mining 
population, so far as it was legally possible for him 


to do SO, but he was firm in his determination to 
refuse any favours which were sought with threats. 
The delegates returned to those who sent them with 
the Governor's reply, but the motley crew who had 
become aware of their strength at the Bendigo 
trouble in the previous year were intolerant of 
control, and resented the firmness and strength so 
unexpectedly shown by the executive. Their 
words and actions became more violent. On the 
28th of November a detachment of the 12th Regi- 
ment, when entering Ballaarat, was hustled, and a 
baggage waggon overturned, injuring a drummer- 
boy, and the next day a huge meeting was held on 
Bakery Hill. Open revolt against the authorities 
was decided upon ; a flag was hoisted and a bonfire 
made of licenses. Hotham was in constant com- 
munication with Thomas, and messages in cypher 
passed rapidly from one to the other. Open de- 
fiance of the law could not be tolerated, and a 
crisis was inevitable. Hotham therefore directed 
that the licenses should be inspected as usual, and 
on the 30th of November a commissioner with a 
police escort set out to perform the duty. They 
were received with showers of stones, and even 
when reinforced were unable to quell the disorder, so 
that the Riot Act was read and the military called 
to disperse the miners, several of whom were taken 

The insurrectionary movement had now assumed 
definite shape. It was fitly described by the Gold 
Commissioner as " a strong democratic agitation by 
an armed mob," and the license was only the occa- 


sion, but not the cause of the outbreak. On the 
evening of the 30th of November, drilling was 
commenced by the insurgents on Bakery Hill, and 
Peter Lalor was elected leader. Arms, stores, horses, 
and ammunition were forcibly seized, and the roads 
to Melbourne and Geelong watched with a view to 
intercepting reinforcements, should they be sent to 
the authorities. On the 1st of December shots were 
fired into Thomas's camp, and it was thought ad- 
visable to take special precautions at night as an 
attack was anticipated early in the following morn- 
ing. The troops were therefore continuously under 
arms. At 4 a.m. a detachment was sent to dis- 
perse an armed body which had assembled on 
Bakery Hill, but the mob retired before the military. 
Later in the day, the camp was surrounded by 
about two thousand armed men, who threatened 
but eventually withdrew. On the same afternoon 
Mr. Amos, a gold commissioner, reached Captain 
Thomas with the tidings that an entrenchment was 
being formed at Eureka Hill, and that he had been 
attacked and plundered. Reinforcements had left 
Melbourne on the ist of December, under Major- 
General Nickle, but Thomas saw that his opportunity 
had now come, for by attacking the Eureka position 
at night or in the very early morning he would 
probably find all the insurgents collected in one spot 
and so be free of fears of an assault on the camp in 
his absence. 

At 2.30 a.m. on Sunday, the 3rd of December, 
1854, the soldiers and police were mustered. One 
hundred mounted men, seventy of whom were police, 


and 196 foot (152 belonging to the 12th and 40th 
Regiments), comprised the attacking force. At 3 
a.m. they left the camp, and in about thirty minutes 
reached the stockade, which had been described by 
Amos. Their movements had, however, been per- 
ceived, for the warning shots of sentries were heard 
before they got far from their camp. When the 
soldiers were within about a hundred and fifty yards 
of the entrenchment the diggers opened a brisk fire, 
which was returned by the military and police as 
they gradually closed on the rebels. The engage- 
ment was short but sharp. With one rush the 
soldiers carried the barricade. The insurgents' flag 
was torn down, and all who were found within the 
stockade were captured, while many others were 
intercepted by the mounted force as they fled down 
the hill or endeavoured to hide themselves behind 
anything which appeared to offer shelter. No fewer 
than a hundred and twenty prisoners were carried 
back to Ballaarat, but the losses on both sides were 
heavy. Captain Wise, of the 40th Regiment, received 
a fatal wound, and thirteen more of the military were 
wounded most severely. On the day after the engage- 
ment, Captain Thomas wrote, " I have reason to 
believe that there were not less than thirty killed on 
the spot, and I know that many have since died of 
their wounds." The effect of the reverse on the 
mining population was immediate. In the same 
despatch which is quoted above, it was stated " that 
the police now patrol in small bodies the length and 
breadth of the Ballaarat gold-fields without threats 
or insult." 


The general feeling at Ballaarat seems to have 
been one of relief The administration of the 
ordinary law was bad, but the terrorism of the rebel 
leaders was infinitely worse. By this bold stroke 
on the part of the executive, the law had been 
vindicated, but it soon became apparent that the 
sympathies of the bulk of the people were with the 
miners, and the commission which Hotham had 
appointed reported that the diggers had genuine 
cause for complaint. The same feeling which had 
been shown in Melbourne in favour of the rioters at 
Bently's Hotel appeared again in support of the 
rebel leaders, who were now to be tried for high 
treason. Public meetings were held in different parts 
of the colony, at which resolutions exonerating the 
offenders from blame were unanimously passed. The 
failure of the prosecution was a foregone conclusion, 
although the evidence in support of the charge was 
exceptionally strong ; for no jury was likely to con- 
vict in the face of the open threats which were freely 
made in the press and elsewhere. Early in 1858 the 
case in the criminal court commenced. Thirteen 
prisoners were in the dock, but each one was in turn 
acquitted and received with wild huzzas by a mixed 
crowd within and outside the building as he regained 
his liberty. 

Sir Charles Hotham lost no time in redeeming his 
promise to the deputation from Ballaarat, that he 
would give effect to the recommendation of the com- 
mission. An Act was passed by the Council abolish- 
ing the license fee, and substituting "Miner's Rights," 
the payment for which was only twenty shillings per 



annum. A miner's right also carried with it repre- 
sentation in the Council, and two members each 
were allotted to Bendigo, Ballaarat, and Castlemaine, 
and one each to the Avoca and Oven's gold-fields, so 
that, although beaten at Eureka, the miners got their 
way, obtained freedom from taxation, and gained 
representation in the Legislature. In December, 1854, 
municipal institutions had been established, and a 
large measure of local government having been 
granted to the inhabitants, the complaint of un- 
popular and tyrannical government was for ever 




The troubles of Sir Charles Hotham did not end 
with the capture of the Eureka stockade, and the 
completion of the labours of the gold commission. 
Years of reckless extravagance and incompetent 
financing had reduced the treasury to the verge of 
bankruptcy, and although surrounded with the in- 
surrectionary difficulties which have already been 
described, the Governor did his utmost to remodel 
the administration of public finance, with the result 
that his labours were crowned with complete success. 
The way in which matters were being conducted by 
the existing ministers can be gathered from the fact 
that the estimates for 1855, as presented to Hotham 
for his approval, showed an anticipated expenditure 
of no less than £2,226,616 in excess of the probable 
revenue. The Governor personally examined the 
various items, and then appointed a committee of 
finance by whose help he was enabled to reduce 
the estimates of expenditure by over two millions, 


and so to reorganise the whole system of audit and 
disbursement that at the end of the year the actual 
deficit was not more than ;^5 3,668. The revised 
regulations proved effective, and by the end of 1857 
all fears of impending national bankruptcy were 
removed, the surplus in the treasury standing at 
no less than ;^6o9,638. Meanwhile a select com- 
mittee had been appointed, as in New South Wales, 
to consider Sir John Pakington's despatch, with regard 
to the proposed new constitution. 

A Bill was drafted, providing for two houses, both 
of which were to be elected by the people. But one 
was to be founded on a higher property qualification, 
and was to be more especially representative of those 
persons who were in possession of large property 
interests within the colony. The Upper House, or 
Legislative Council, was to have a life of ten years, 
but in order that the electors should have a constant 
opportunity of expressing their views, it was arranged 
that every two years, a certain number of members 
were to retire in rotation, and again submit them- 
selves to election. The Legislative Assembly was 
intended to be an entirely democratic body, and on 
the suffrage designated every adult male, including 
the unstable mining population, had a vote ; so that 
an absolute majority could always be obtained by 
the labouring classes. There was one very great 
difference between the powers of the Council in 
Victoria and those of similar bodies in the two 
adjoining colonies ; for, whereas both at Sydney and 
Adelaide under the terms of the Constitution Acts 
the Legislative Council and the Assembly had 


equal authority in regard to Money Bills, with the 
one exception that such Bills to be introduced in 
the Lower House, in Victoria, on the other hand, the 
Council was given specifically the power to reject, but 
not to alter Bills involving expenditure or the 
imposition of taxation. This difference is more 
especially worthy of note as, before the new Parlia- 
ment had been long in existence, it led to some of 
the greatest constitutional difficulties which have 
ever been experienced in any of the Australian 
colonies. The measure as drafted by the local 
Council was agreed to in England, and on the 23rd 
of November, 1855, the new Constitution and re- 
sponsible government were proclaimed. 

The attainment of political freedom was clouded 
by the death of Sir Charles Hotham, whose labourr 
on behalf of the colony had been too much for his 
health. In 1855 he died literally in harness, over- 
whelmed by the onerous duties of his responsible 
office. For some months affairs were administered 
by the military commander, and then Sir Henry 
Barkly arrived to take charge of the Government. 
Being possessed of much tact and ability, he was 
able to steer the new Parliamentary bark through 
its early difficulties. In the first year of its existence 
a heated dispute arose over a suggestion to conduct 
the election for both houses by secret ballot, and a 
measure embodying this arrangement was eventually 
passed, though the ministry succumbed in the con- 
flict. Before the Constitution had had a fair trial, 
the democratic party commenced to tinker it ; in 
1857 the property qualification of members of the 


Assembly was abolished, and universal suffrage for 
electors at the same time established. 

The restless enterprise of the people showed itself 
in other ways than political conflict, and they entered 
heartily into the work of opening up the interior of 
the continent. 

In i860 a Melbourne merchant offered ;^ 1,000 for 
the furtherance of exploration, and the Royal Society 
of Victoria undertook to organise an expedition to 
cross the continent. A sum of ^3,400 was soon 
subscribed, and the Victorian Government granted 
;^6,ooo, and brought twenty-six camels from Arabia 
at a cost of ;!^3,ooo more. The most complete 
arrangements were made, and Robert O'Hara Burke 
was appointed leader, with G. J. Landells as second 
in command. W. J. Wills was to make scientific 
observations, and two other scientific men and eleven 
subordinates were also sent, together with twenty- 
eight horses to carry the baggage. On August 20, 
i860, the long train of horses and camels left Mel- 
bourne amidst great enthusiasm, and all went well 
until the Murrumbidgee was reached. Here Burke 
quarrelled with Landells, and the latter, in conse- 
quence, resigned. Wills was promoted to be second in 
command, and the party then starting again, kept 
together until they came to Menindie, on the Darling, 
where Burke left a man named Wright, with half the 
expedition, and himself pushed on rapidly, instructing 
Wright to follow more leisurely. With six men and 
half the horses and camels, Burke and Wills set off, 
and on the banks of Cooper's Creek, finding fine 
pastures and plenty of water, formed a depot, and 


waited for Wright, who, however, did not appear. 
After some time had been lost, Burke determined to 
wait no longer, but to make a rapid journey to the 
Gulf of Carpentaria. He therefore left four of his 
men, with six camels and twelve horses, at the depot, 
instructing them to remain for three months, and if 
he did not return within that time to consider him 
dead and return to Menindie. 

On the 1 6th of December, Burke, Wills, and two 
companions started, taking with them six camels and 
one horse, which carried provisions for three months. 
After following Cooper's Creek for some way, they 
struck off to the north, till they came to Eyre Creek, 
but soon finding that it turned eastward, they left its 
banks and marched due north, keeping along the 
140th meridian. The country was covered with 
forests of boxwood, alternating with rich and well- 
watered plains, and after a few weeks they came 
upon a fine stream, running north, the Flinders, 
which entered a large river, on whose banks was 
most luxuriant tropical vegetation. Burke now 
hurried forward so fast that one by one the camels 
sank exhausted, and leaving the two men to look 
after them, Burke and Wills set out by themselves 
on foot, and walked till they reached the shores of 
the Gulf of Carpentaria. Their little store of pro- 
visions was exhausted before they regained their 
friends, but they found the horses and camels greatly 
improved by their rest, and ready to m^ove south- 
wards. But the heat and exertion had told severely 
on the constitutions of all. Towards the end of March 
their provisions began to fail ; a camel was then shot 


and its flesh dried, but in a month this too was gone, 
and the horse was killed. One of the men died a 
day or two after, and the remaining three were 
almost broken down. Four months and a half after 
leaving the depot they reached it again, but it was 
still deserted, though they found a notice stating that 
their friends had left that same morning. The word 
" dig " was cut on a neighbouring tree, and buried 
beneath it they discovered a small supply of pro- 
visions. The three deserted wanderers rested for a 
couple of days, and then started for Adelaide, because 
at Mount Hopeless, where Eyre had turned back in 
1840, there was now a large sheep station, and it was 
thought that it could not be more than one hundred 
and fifty miles distant. Wills opposed this plan, but 
Burke prevailed, and they set out for Mount Hopeless. 
Till it was lost in marshy thickets, they followed 
Cooper's Creek, and then they had to shoot their last 
camel and dry its flesh, while they took a short rest. 
They then turned southwards, but when within fifty 
miles of Mount Hopeless they gave in, and turned to 
go back. After a weary journey they once more 
reached the banks of Cooper's Creek, and Burke set 
out to seek some natives, who, when found, received 
him kindly, and showed him how to gather the seeds 
from a kind of grass called Nardoo. But it made 
them sick, and failed to nourish them. Whilst they 
were thus camped on Cooper's Creek, below the 
depot, the rest of the expedition returned to seek 
them, for instead of following closely on Burke, 
Wright had remained at Menindie for over three 
months, and the party from the depot was halfway 


back to the Darling before it met him. Again they 
just missed obtaining help, for finding no signs of 
Burke and Wills at the depot, and concluding that 
they had perished, their friends hastened homewards. 
Shortly after they had left. Wills set out by himself 
for the depot, on the chance of help having arrived, 
but upon reaching it he found it was still deserted ; 
he therefore turned back to rejoin his companions. 
He was rapidly dying of hunger when he met some 
natives, who received him in a friendly manner, helped 
him to their camp, and gave him food. For four days 
he rested with them, and then started once more to 
fetch his friends. The journey was necessarily very 
slow, and when the three men returned the blacks' 
camp was deserted. They staggered on a little further, 
and then, as Wills was completely broken down, they 
left him in a hut, and placing near him enough Nardoo 
to last eight days, started off again in quest of the 
natives. On the first day they travelled a fair dis- 
tance, but early on the second Burke gave in. He 
prayed his companion not to leave him till he was 
dead, for he felt he could live no longer. A few 
hours after dawn on the following day, Burke died. 
The only survivor wandered on, and coming across 
an abandoned native camp, found a bag of Nardoo 
which would feed him about a fortnight, and with 
this prize he hurried back to the hut where he had 
left Wills. But the life of his friend was already 
ended, and once again he set out and found a 
tribe who were hospitable and permitted him to 
stay with them. When the rest of the expedition 
returned to Victoria with the news that Burke and 


Wills were lost, in all the colonies parties were 
organised to go in search of the explorers. The 
Royal Society of Victoria equipped a small party, 
under A. W. Howitt, to examine the banks of 
Cooper's Creek, and from Queensland an expedition 
was sent to the Gulf of Carpentaria by sea, and 
another from Rockhampton to the Gulf of Carpentaria 
overland, while from South Australia a party was 
despatched from the direction of Lake Torrens, and 
thence to Cooper's Creek. At length the Victorian 
party, after tracing the course of Cooper's Creek 
down-stream from the depot, came across tracks of 
camels, and before long some natives led the way to 
a camp where the only survivor was found, but so 
weak that he could scarcely speak. The blacks were 
rewarded for their kindness with gifts of looking- 
glasses, gay pieces of ribbon, and other articles, and 
the search party returned homewards. Later on 
the Victorian Government sent an expedition to 
bring the bodies of Burke and Wills to Melbourne, 
where they were accorded a public funeral. 




In 1863 Sir Henry Barkly retired, and his place 
was filled by Sir Charles Darling, who, on his arrival, 
found' the country in a very unsettled condition, and 
ripe for disorder. The crowds of people who had 
been attracted by the diggings were still nominally 
engaged in the search for gold, but by this time most 
of the alluvial workings had been exhausted, and the 
golden treasure could only be won from the quartz 
reefs after severe toil with the aid of expensive 

Those of the new-comers, therefore, who had a 
knowledge of other trades began to look about them 
for suitable employment, and amongst the artisans, 
who were seeking some outlet for their knowledge 
and energies, the idea became popular that if once 
the importation of English and foreign-made goods 
were to be checked, the demands of the inhabitants 
of the colony would soon create the local manufacture 
of all sorts of articles with it, and a profitable market 
for the labour of all who desired to quit the diggings. 


In other words, a protective policy was advocated by 
the unemployed, and there were plenty of persons in 
the Lower House who were easily convinced by any 
suggestions offered by their constituents. A Bill was 
consequently introduced by the Ministry of Mr. 
McCulloch, imposing heavy duties on all articles which 
it was thought could be made on the spot, and passed 
by the Assembly by a considerable majority. But came before the Upper Chamber it was un- 
ceremoniously rejected. The Ministry were indignant, 
and the relations between the two houses became 
anything but cordial. Still the course taken by the 
Council had been entirely constitutional, and the 
Assembly had no legal remedy or justifiable cause of 
complaint ; but Mr. McCulloch was not to be beaten. 
When the Appropriation Act was prepared, the whole 
of the Customs Duties Bill was incorporated in it, 
and again passed by the Legislative Assembly, and 
the Council were thus placed on the horns of a 
dilemma. By the special provision of the Constitution 
Act, they had no power to amend Money Bills, but if 
they rejected the Appropriation Act as it stood, it 
would mean that the Government would be utterly 
deprived of funds to meet the ordinary current 
expenses of administration. After seriously con- 
sidering which was the better course to take, it was 
determined to refuse to be tricked in this way, and 
the Appropriation Act, with its obnoxious addition, 
was rejected. 

The whole city was at once thrown into a ferment, 
and the Government began to collect customs duties 
without waiting for the sanction of the Upper House. 


This course was pronounced illegal when an appeal 

was made to the Law Courts, and a dissolution followed. 

In the new Assembly the number of members in 

favour of protection was materially increased, and 

the Duties Bill was again passed and forwarded to 

the Council, but only to again meet with the same 

fate which it had previously suffered. The Ministry, 

therefore, resigned. Meanwhile, the absence of any 

Appropriation Act was causing much hardship and 

discomfort. Public servants could not receive their 

salaries, and public creditors of all sorts had to do 

without their money. But the Council showed no 

signs of yielding, and cast the responsibility on the 

Government, which in its turn vilified the Council. 

But the same ingenuity which had suggested the 

expedient of tacking the Customs Bill to the 

Appropriation Act suggested a way of obtaining 

funds without parliamentary sanction. Application 

was made to the Bank by the Government for an 

advance with which to pay the public servants, and 

after some difficulty ;^40,ooo was obtained and 

promptly handed to the various creditors. No sooner 

had the money been spent than the Bank demanded 

its return, and at once brought an action against the 

Government to recover the amount. No defence was 

offered, and a verdict was given in favour of the Bank, 

whereupon the treasurer was enabled legally to pay 

money from the public coffers to meet the judgment 

of the Supreme Court. The same trick was resorted 

to over and over again, and Darling acquiesced in the 

proceedings, or, at any rate, did nothing to stop it. 

This contrivance reduced Parliamentary government 


to a farce, and the Council, which had some sense of 
the dignity of Parliament, seeing that they were being 
beaten, suggested a conference, and eventually passed 
the Appropriation Act and the Customs Duties Bill 

The Imperial Government were displeased with 
Darling's action, and pointed out to him that he 
should have taken steps to protect the Constitution 
from this burlesque ; he was summarily recalled, his 
place being filled by the Right Honourable F. H. T. 
Manners-Sutton. For a moment there was a lull in 
the conflict, and it seemed as if there might be some 
chance of parliamentary government proceeding in a 
fairly orderly manner, on constitutional lines. But 
the fighting instinct having once been aroused it was 
hard to allay it, and out of the old feud a new one 
sprang. McCuUoch brought forward a proposition to 
vote ;^20,ooo to Lady Darling to compensate her 
husband for his loss of office, and the censure which 
had been passed upon him by the Secretary of State. 
The Assembly readily agreeing to this arrangement, 
the money was duly voted. The Council thought that 
Darling had only met with his deserts, and refused 
absolutely to pass the Bill when it came before them. 
Again the obnoxious vote was tacked to the Appro- 
priation Act, and again the Appropriation Act was 
thrown out by the Council. The new governor would 
not permit the tactics which had been winked at by 
Darling, and the whole machinery of the country was 
brought to a sudden standstill. Fortunately at the 
critical moment the difficulty was solved by Darling 
himself for McCulloch received a letter from the 


ex-governor, saying that he had been amply compen- 
sated for his loss of office by the Imperial Government, 
and that he could not accept the money which it was 
proposed to vote to Lady Darling. The Appropria- 
tion Act was therefore passed by the Council without 
the ;:^20,ooo, and the political life of the colony 
settled down for some years, into comparative peace 
and quietness. There were still constant changes in 
the ministry, but beyond this the only important 
alteration in the Constitution was the reduction of the 
property qualification of both members and electors 
of the Upper Chamber. Numerous measures for the 
internal development of the country, and for the 
education and general welfare of the people were 
passed, without serious friction between the two 

But in 1873, Sir James Ferguson Bowen took office 
as Governor, and was shortly confronted by a similar 
difficulty to that which wrecked Darling, and which 
had been so happily solved in the time of his imme- 
diate predecessor. A Bill had been passed on this 
occasion by the Assembly, granting a salary of ^300 
per annum to all members of the two houses, the 
principal object being to enable any man, however 
poor, to enter the political arena. At this time Mr. 
Graham Berry was Premier, and when the Payment 
of Members Bill was rejected by the Council he 
followed the course which had been taken by Mc- 
Culloch ten years previously, and embodied it in the 
Appropriation Act for the year. The Upper House 
once more asserted its privilege, and threw it out, and 
once again the country was involved in a constitu- 


tional crisis. The Government was powerless against 
the Upper House, so they vented their spleen upon 
unoffending public officials. On Wednesday, 8th of 
January, 1878, a Gasette notice appeared, dismissing 
many hundreds of public servants, and consternation 
was spread in the Civil Service from the highest to 
the lowest ranks. After a considerable interval, how- 
ever, which was occupied in mutual recriminations, 
the Appropriation Act, divested of the amounts for 
payment of members, was passed by the Council, and 
the mutilated public service was able to breathe 
again. A petition was made to the Imperial Govern- 
ment to help the colony out of its continually recur- 
ring constitutional difficulties, and representatives 
from the Assembly hastened to England to attempt 
to justify their action. The appeal was nevertheless 
fruitless, for it was pointed out that ample machinery 
was then in existence for the settlement of all ordinary 
disputes, and that no intervention from outside could be 
more effective than ordinary intelligence and modera- 
tion on the part of the local legislature. The decision 
of the Secretary of State remained unshaken by the 
eloquence of Berry, and he asserted that the Imperial 
Parliament would never consent to alter the consti- 
tution of Victoria at the request of one house only. 

Sir George Bowen was recalled, and succeeded by 
the Marquis of Normanby, and parties in Parliament 
being more equal, there were for some years no 
violent political disturbances. In 1880 a compromise 
was arrived at on the vexed question of the payment 
of members, and the Council passed a Bill giving 
salaries to the Lower House, and throwing out a 



measure intended to confer the same remuneration 
upon themselves. During all these years, although 
the Parliament of the country had spent much of its 
time in internal squabbles, many useful measures 
dealing both with social and industrial questions had 
found a place in the Statute Book. The wonderful 
natural wealth of Victoria had caused enormous 
expansion in agricultural settlement, and a large 
amount of both English and local capital had been 
invested in undertakings promoting manufacture. 
A progressive railway policy was followed, almost 
all lines being constructed by the state with funds 
borrowed in England, and the colony is now covered 
with a network of lines which is rather in advance 
of its real requirements. The sudden accession of 
enormous quantities of foreign money seeking invest- 
ment caused values to rise as suddenly, and Victoria 
entered upon a period of extreme inflation, which 
produced the ordinary accompaniments of reckless 
speculation and gross extravagance. The formation 
of a coalition Government removed in a great 
measure the check of a strong opposition, and 
although many measures of popular utility were 
passed, the Government augmented the general ten- 
dency to gamble by a profuse expenditure of public 
money, especially upon the creation of many heavily 
endowed local bodies, such as harbour, irrigation, and 
water trusts. Apart from the recklessness of some 
of the financial operations of the colony, both public 
and private, the people of Victoria have shown com- 
mendable enterprise in the development of the 
wonderful natural resources of the country. When 



the return from the gold-fields fell off, a great propor- 
tion of the diggers resumed their regular occupations 
many became permanent settlers, and commenced 
the cultivation of the soil. The rich tracts, which 
won for the colony the name Australia Felix, are 
now for the most part utilised for tillage and stock- 
raising. Much has also been done to bring the 
unwatered portions of the country into use by means 
of irrigation, and Victoria claims the distinction of 
having been the first of the Australian group to in- 
stitute a public system of water conservation and 
irrigation upon a large scale. The extensive works 
undertaken are perhaps somewhat in advance of the 
present necessities of the colony. But there can be 
no doubt that in the time to come Victoria, from the 
great fertility of its soil, the wealth of its mineral 
deposits, and the energy and enterprise of its inhabi- 
tants, will maintain a position as one of the greatest 
of the Australian States. 


EVENTS FROM 1 826 TO 1 874. 

The territory which now forms the colony of 
Western Australia was first occupied in 1826, at the 
time when the scare of settlement by the French was 
at its height. Sir Ralph Darling, who was then 
Governor of New South Wales, contented himself 
with sending a small military detachment to King 
George's Sound, and no effort was made to occupy 
the country for pastoral or agricultural purposes. In 
the following year, however, Captain Stirling, while 
cruising along the western coast, was much struck 
with the beauty of a large river which had been 
discovered by the Dutch in 1697, and called Swan 
River on account of the number of black swans which 
covered its waters. Stirling wrote an enthusiastic 
description of the place, and as in England at the 
moment land-hunger was very prevalent, the idea of 
forming a colony on entirely new principles in the 
country received considerable support, and was soon 
put into execution. Captain Freemantle was de- 
spatched with a few men to do the pioneering work, 

278 EVENTS FROM 1826 TO 1874. 

and Captain Stirling followed with some eight hun- 
dred of the intending settlers. So far all went well ; 
but Freemantle, on his arrival, found that the land 
which had appeared so fair from the sea was in reality 
little but a barren, sandy waste, covered with dense 
scrub. He could find no harbour and no good site 
for a town, and when Stirling arrived at the beginning 
of June, 1829, practically nothing had been done. 
For lack of a better situation, the emigrants landed 
on a bleak spot called Garden Island, and set to work 
to make temporary shelters out of anything which 
came to their hands. The misery of these first few 
months it would be difficult to describe ; and added 
to discomforts of the new-comers was the hopeless- 
ness of the future, engendered by the gloomy reports 
of the exploring parties, which were constantly being 
sent across to the mainland to seek a site on which it 
would be possible to form a town. At last a spot on 
the Swan River, where it broadens into large shallow 
lagoons, was decided upon ; but it was many miles from 
the sea, and the river was useless for navigation, as 
its mouth was blocked by a bar which made it impos- 
sible for a vessel of any size to enter. Freemantle, 
which was little more than an exposed roadstead, had 
to be used as a port, and the goods of the settlers 
were landed on the beach and then carted miles 
across the sandy waste to Perth, as they called the 
proposed capital. 

The emigrants to Western Australia had been 
attracted by an indiscriminating desire to become 
large landed proprietors, and the whole scheme of the 
colony was based on the principle of barter in land. 


The Governor and officials were paid in land ; land 
was offered in huge tracts to all who brought property 
to the country. The introduction of a piano carried 
a claim for so many acres ; and the first fleet was 
loaded with every imaginable article, a great propor- 
tion being absolutely useless to people intending to 
do pioneering work in a new country. Before the end 
of 1830, about a thousand new arrivals had reached 
the colony, in thirty ships loaded with " property," 
and then began a scramble for the promised estates, 
for almost all held land orders. The claimants for 
the largest areas had first choice of localities and 
promptly selected land as near as possible to the city, 
so that as the area became lower the intending 
farmers found their estates vanishing over a distant 
horizon. Blocks were granted, and marked off on a 
map which was remarkable on account of its extreme 
simplicity ; for beyond the fact that, owing to the 
general run of the coast line, it was reasonable to 
suppose that land was there, no one knew anything 
about it, and it might have been an Eden or a wilder- 
ness. As a matter of fact it was the latter, and more- 
over it was already inhabited by black natives who 
were not prepared to recognise the title granted by 
the lavish Governor and generous officials in Perth. 
Under the scheme, for every £^ worth of goods intro- 
duced into the colony, forty acres were given, but the 
fee simple was not to be had by the grantee until 
IS. 6d. per acre had been expended on its improve- 

Human beings, if over ten years old, were assessed 
at 6s. each, and one man, Mr. Peel, was granted 

28o EVENTS FROM 1826 TO 1874. 

250,000 acres, with a possible extension to one million 
acres, at the rate of two hundred for each person 
whom he brought out answering to the above de- 
scription. This gentleman had a very unfortunate 
experience. He took three hundred servants and 
;^50,000 worth of goods and stock with him, intend- 
ing to follow agricultural and pastoral pursuits on a 
large scale. His calculations were upset, however, by 
the quality of the soil, his servants deserted him, and 
his implements lay rusting unused, while the valuable 
live stock wandered off over the vast estate, many 
falling victims to a poisonous shrub which abounded 
in the district. Mr. Peel lost everything ; but his 
case, although the amount at stake was larger, is 
only typical of what was going on all round. The 
persons with smaller properties were no better off ; 
and the more venturesome, who tried to reside on 
their distant estates, met their deaths for the most 
part from starvation or disease, far from their fellow- 
men, while not a few were sacrificed to the spears of 
the native tribes. 

The prospects of the colony could not have been 
much more gloomy, and all who had the means 
returned to England or sought in the other provinces 
the fortune which there seemed no hope of finding in 
Western Australia. Immigration of labourers for- 
tunately ceased as soon as an account of the real 
state of affairs reached England, and Governor Stir- 
ling was compelled to seek aid from the Secretary of 
State for his almost starving subjects. Although no 
convicts had been directly sent to Western Australia 
previous to 1843, ^^^ ^^^ intention had been to keep 


this settlement at any rate free from the criminal 
taint, many ticket-of-leave or freed men from Tas- 
mania found their way to the new colony, and pro- 
duced the same troubles with the native inhabitants 
which darken the pages of early Tasmanian his- 
tory. Acts of brutal cruelty provoked barbarous re- 
taliation, which was in its turn punished by the law, 
although the white men, the original transgressors, were 
seldom called to account. When Governor Hutt suc- 
ceeded Stirling, in 1838, the Government made an effort 
to improve the relations between the aborigines and the 
settlers ; and while persons committing outrages on 
the natives were, if possible, severely treated, sub- 
stantial remissions of purchase money for land were 
made to those who for two years continuously em- 
ployed a native in some useful office about their 
farms. Persons were also appointed to specially 
guard the interests of the black men, and to try and 
prevent collisions between the two races. But the 
humane efforts of the Governor were greatly crippled 
by want of funds. 

There is but little to record of the first fifty years 
of the history of Western Australia. Attempts 
were made to induce settlement by exceptional faci- 
lities for acquiring land, one of the special features 
of the arrangements being the issue of leases of Crown 
land, entitling the holder to cultivate, and carry- 
ing a right of pre-emption at the expiration of the 
term of lease. The amount of good land near Perth 
was very limited, and the hope of discovering better 
pastures, and the great difficulty of getting away from 
the colony when once landed there, alone kept it 

282 EVENTS FROM 1826 TO 1874. 

from being totally deserted. The first change of im- 
portance occurred in 1 848, when a proposal was made 
by the English Government that Western Australia 
should receive convicts. Five years previously, boys 
from a penitentiary had been sent out ; but they were 
not regarded as criminals, and their assignment was 
called " apprenticing." In 1845, a similar suggestion, 
that the tide of transportation should be directed to 
Western Australia, had been rejected by the in- 
habitants ; but three years of hopeless stagnation had 
produced a change, and Earl Grey's offer was, in 1848, 
readily, although not unanimously, accepted. It was 
hoped that the expenditure of Government money, 
which a convict establishment and its guard would 
involve, would infuse a little life into the drooping 
energies of the settlement ; while the farming element 
in the population thought that some relief from their 
difficulties might be obtained by the use of cheap 
convict labour on their estates. These anticipations 
were to some extent realised, and a market was pro- 
vided for the pastoral or agricultural produce of the 
colonists. The slight advantage obtained was, how- 
ever, dearly bought, for the colony soon became little 
but a gaol, and the freaks of the convicts caused 
society, such as it was, to be in a continual state of 
apprehension. Industries gradually came into exis- 
tence, and a trade in timber became valuable ; for the 
magnificent jarrah forests and the sandal wood yielded 
a store which was always saleable. Pearls, lead, and 
guano were also discovered ; but even in the develop- 
ment of these gifts of nature a lack of enterprise and 
the want of capital made the results insignificant. 


In 1845 Governor Hutt retired, and the govern- 
ment was for twelve months administered by Colonel 
Clarke, and, on his death, for another year by Colonel 
Irwin. When, in 1848, Captain Fitzgerald, R.N., 
arrived to take command, two expeditions were being 
prepared to search for new pastures, and the success 
of one, which found a small plot of good land near 
Champion Bay, raised the spirits of the colonists. So 
great was the excitement, that the Governor himself 
journeyed to see the new prize ; but his trip was 
marred by an unfortunate encounter with tire natives, 
in which some of the aborigines were killed. Imme- 
diately on the Governor's return, an expedition was 
organised to settle at Champion Bay, and work a 
lead mine which had been found on the Murchison 
River ; but Fitzgerald was reminded by the Secretary 
of State that the Imperial Government would bear 
no expense on account of any further occupation of 
territory, and it was only after earnest representations 
that consent was given to the despatch of a small 
military guard to protect the pioneers. The con- 
dition of the main settlement at this time may be 
gathered from Fitzgerald's communication to Earl 
Grey in connection with this incident. " So great 
was the prevalent despondency and depression," he 
wrote, " that the flocks were to a great extent 
thrown out of increase and prepared for the caul- 
dron, all classes of colonists were daily leaving as 
opportunities occurred, and were it not for the hope 
which the discovery of this new land diffused, my 
conviction is that every flock-owner in the colony 
who had it at all in his power would have boiled 

284 EVENTS FROM 1826 TO 1874. 

down his sheep and abandoned the colony for South 

The convicts were not a desirable element in the 
population, and the lax control exercised over them 
sometimes led to strange scenes. Once, in 1852, 
during a race meeting at York, about thirty prisoners, 
armed with clubs, absconded and made their appear- 
ance on the course. The magistrates present thought 
it necessary to suspend the festivities, and swear in 
special constables to look after the visitors, while from 
fifty to sixty natives were prevailed upon to assist the 
authorities by becoming temporary warders. Never- 
theless, when, in the following year, a rumour reached 
Western Australia, to the effect that the English 
Government contemplated ceasing transporting to 
the colony, the suggestion aroused what Fitzgerald 
described as "one ^ universal feeling of alarm and 
despair " in the minds of the settlers. Public meet- 
ings to protest against such a step were largely at- 
tended at Perth and Freemantle, and petitions in 
favour of the continuance of transportation were 
transmitted to the Secretary of State. Their prayer 
was granted, and more convicts were poured into the 
colony ; but when it was hinted that if they were so 
glad to have them, the inhabitants could hardly 
grumble if asked to pay something towards their 
keep, an angry remonstrance was the answer, the 
colonists refusing to pay anything at all, and claim- 
ing immigration of free settlers assisted by England, 
as some compensation for the acceptance of the bond. 
A compromise was effected. Governors Kennedy 
a.nd Hampton followed Fitzgerald, and Hampton 



stayed at the helm till 1868, when transportation was 
finally and completely abolished, on account of a 
change in the prison policy in England. 

The settlers meanwhile made every effort to open 
up and colonise the vast territory of the colony. In 
1873, Major Warburton, with his son, two white men, 
and two Afghans to drive seventeen camels, left 
Alice Springs, on the South Australian Overland 
telegraph line, and after traversing terribly barren 
country, at last reached the Oakover River, on the 
north-west coast. Towards the end of the same 
year, Giles started on a similar journey, intending to 
cross from the middle of the telegraph line to Western 
Australia. But after going half-way, he abandoned 
the idea and returned. Three years later he renewed 
his attempt, and successfully accomplished the jour- 
ney. In 1874, John Forrest, Government Surveyor 
of Western Australia, left Geraldton, to the south of 
Shark Bay, and, travelling 1,200 miles almost due 
east, reached the telegraph line. Alexander Forrest, 
the Jardine brothers, Ernest Favenc, Gosse, and 
Baron von Mueller, have also contributed to the ex- 
ploration of Australia, and now only a small part of 
South Australia and the central portion of Western 
Australia remain unknown. 




Western Australia has passed through several 
stages of constitutional development. Originally the 
whole responsibility rested with the Governor ; after- 
wards a small executive council and a nominee legis- 
lature were created to aid him. Later, the same sort 
of arrangement as had for so long existed in New 
South Wales, came into operation — namely, a legis- 
lature partly nominated and partly elected. This 
system met all ordinary requirements for some years ; 
but, in 1870, during the rule of Governor Weld, who 
followed Hampton, the Legislative Council was con- 
siderably enlarged. Signs of a desire for representa- 
tive institutions had long been manifest, but up to 
this point the opinions of the inhabitants on the ques- 
tion had been pretty evenly divided, and, if anything, 
the advocates of a change were in a minority. When 
Sir William Robinson succeeded Mr. Weld, in 1875, 
the agitation for responsible government took a more 
active form, although the wiser heads of the colony 

still saw the impossibility of proper local administra- 



tion in a community consisting of about three thou- 
sand free adult males and five thousand persons who 
had been at one time or another convicted criminals. 
When, therefore, in 1878, a resolution was moved in 
the Legislative Council, affirming that responsible in- 
stitutions should be immediately granted it was lost by 
a majority of thirteen votes to five ; but, nothing 
daunted, its advocates continued to keep the question 
prominently before the public, although it soon be- 
came evident that the concession would be made by 
the Imperial Parliament only on the condition that 
the territory then known as Western Australia should 
be divided, and a comparatively small portion given 
up to the control of the very limited population. 
When, however, this determination became generally 
known, the idea of subdividing the colony was bit- 
terly opposed, and for a time the constitutional ques- 
tion lost popular interest. 

But, although temporarily obscured, the ambitions 
of the settlers were still alive, and it was determined 
to show the opponents of autonomy that the inhabi- 
tants of Western Australia, if few in numbers, were 
nevertheless capable of managing and developing 
their huge estate. Sir H. Ord, who had now be- 
come Governor, enthusiastically supported the enter- 
prise of the people. Strenuous efforts were made to 
construct public works, with the object of opening up 
the country, and funds were raised for the purpose by 
the floating of loans on the English market. It was 
found, however, to be easier to devise large schemes 
than to carry them out. The field administration was 
careless, and the estimates of cost were loosely drawn 


up, SO that when the time came to pay for many ven- 
tures the bill was much larger than had been antici- 
pated. The result was a deficit of about ^^30,000, 
and this financial failure produced a general feeling 
of discontent amongst those who had to contribute to 
the revenue, and still further dimmed the prospect 
of obtaining responsible government. Sir Henry Ord 
left the colony while it was in this mood, and Sir 
William Robinson returned and entered upon a second 
term of office. 

Public works were still carried on, however, but as it 
was clearly impossible for the Government to under- 
take the construction of a railway system for the 
whole colony, arrangements were made with an Eng- 
lish company to build a line from Albany to Beverley, 
a distance of about 241 miles, on the land grant 
system, and later a similar concession was made to 
the Midland Railway Company, whose track was to 
run from a point on the Eastern Railway, near Guild- 
ford, to Walkaway, two hundred and sixty miles dis- 
tant, and then was to join a Government line running 
to Geraldton. In each case the companies received 
twelve thousand acres of land for every mile of rail- 
way constructed, such property to be selected within 
forty miles of either side of the line, half the -front- 
tage to the railway being reserved for the Government. 
Various other lines, some belonging to the Govern- 
ment and some to private individuals, have already 
been made, and, considering its scanty and scattered 
population, Western Australia is possessed of fair 
means of internal communication. A telegraph line 
between Perth and Freemantle (a distance of about 


twelve miles) was constructed by a private company, 
and opened for the transmission of messages as early 
as 1869 ; the line was taken over by the Govern- 
ment two years later. Since then telegraphic com- 
munication has been entirely in the hands of the 
State, and great progress has been made. The 
alternative cable of the Eastern Extension Telegraph 
Company stretches from Roebuck Bay to Banjowangi ; 
Western Australia is thus possessed of a direct 
service with Europe. 

The efforts to develop the natural resources of the 
colony had their effect. The people of Western 
Australia had shown that they ^yere capable of sound 
progress, and when in 1887 a resolution was again 
brought forward in the Council affirming that self- 
government was desirable, it was passed by an almost 
unanimous vote, and the Governor was requested to 
take the necessary steps to carry the matter to a con- 
clusion. But, as formerly there had been differences of 
opinion on the subject, it was thought wise, before such 
a fundamental change was made, that the voice of the 
inhabitants should be clearly given. So at the end 
of the following year the Council was dissolved, and 
early in 1889 a general election took place, at which 
the principal question before the constituencies was 
whether or not the Imperial Parliament should be 
approached with a view of obtaining for Western 
Australia the benefits of autonomy which had so 
long been enjoyed by the other provinces. The 
change in popular sentiment was apparent directly 
the new Council assembled, and resolutions similar to 
those rejected in 1878, and carried by a majority in 



1887, were passed without a single dissentient voice. 
In April a Bill defining the new Constitution was pre- 
pared, and after but slight amendment was forwarded 
to the Secretary of State. As opposition to the 
transference of the Crown lands to the Colonial 
Government was anticipated, the Governor, Sir 
Frederick Napier Broome, and two prominent settlers 
were appointed by the Council to represent the affairs 
of the colony in England, and to do their utmost to 
steer the measure, on which so much depended, safely 
through the quicksands of the Imperial Parliament. 
As had been expected, clauses were introduced at an 
early stage which were highly distasteful to the West 
Australians, but on reference of the Bill to a select 
committee, all the obnoxious provisions were excised, 
and full control of their own affairs and of the whole 
of their huge territory was vested in the local legisla- 
ture, which it was proposed to create forthwith. The 
Act received the royal assent on the 15 th of August, 
1890, greatly to the satisfaction of the whole of Aus- 
tralia. The new Constitution differed in detail but 
little from the measures under which the eastern 
colonies have been governed since 1855. An Upper 
House was established, containing fifteen members, 
the first holders to be nominated by the Crown, but 
with ample provision for making it elective so soon 
as the population of the colony shall have reached 
sixty thousand. To become a member, it is neces- 
sary to possess a substantial property qualification, 
but the qualification defined for the elector is ex- 
tremely low. Members are elected to the Assembly 
on the basis practically of manhood suffrage, and 


provision is made for the representation of Crown 
lessees. The new system of government has not yet 
been sufficiently long in operation to make it possible 
to form an opinion as to its utility. But there is 
every reason to believe that Western Australia will in 
the future make as good use of its plenary powers 
of legislation as the other colonies have done. 

From recent discoveries it would appear to be 
by no means improbable that gold will be as power^ 
ful a factor in the development of Western Aus- 
tralia as it has been in most of the other colonies 
of the Australian group. The progress of both 
New South Wales and Victoria was slow and un- 
certain until the news of the discovery of gold was 
noised abroad. Then, and not till then, did it begin 
to be realised what a land of promise this almost 
unknown country was, and from that date up to 
the present time the current of immigration, set in 
motion by the finding of the precious metal, has con- 
tinued to flow steadily to Australian shores. Until 
quite recently, however, there seemed to be no pro- 
spect of the same fortune awaiting Western Australia, 
and by many persons competent to form an opinion 
it was generally considered that this portion of the 
continent was almost destitute of mineral wealth. 
But it has now been pretty well proved that this idea 
was entirely erroneous. Mining and prospecting are 
quite in their infancy in Western Australia, and 
the industry has there, as in most other places, 
met with many misfortunes at its commencement. 
Perhaps the most severe check to mining enter- 
prise followed the first discovery of gold at Peter- 


wangy, for, as soon as it became known that gold 
had been found, there was a rush from the other 
colonies quite unwarranted by the character of the 
discovery. The precious metal was never gained in 
payable quantities, and the disappointed diggers, find- 
ing nothing, left in disgust. The next venture was 
little better, for, although the assay of the ore from the 
Kendinup field gave a large return, the presence of a 
great quantity of arsenical pyrites caused such a loss 
both in gold and mercury, when the ore was treated 
on the ground, that no satisfactory return could be 
obtained. After this followed the rush to Kim- 
berley ; here again the alluvial workings were 
shallow, so that they were soon worked out, and 
although Kimberley has now settled down into a 
reefing district, and some very rich finds have been 
made, confidence has not been entirely restored, and 
Western Australian mining enterprises are viewed 
with suspicion. 

But further discoveries are continually being re- 
ported, and the reefs in the neighbourhood of the 
Yilgarn Hills, which stretch away from north to 
south, indicate that gold extends for a distance of 
at least fifty miles. Other reefs have been found 
at Peewah, and a little further east the alluvial 
fields of iPilbarra are being worked with a con- 
siderable amount of success, while the last discovery 
is in the vicinity of Austin's Lake, in the Murchison 
district. The presence of gold in Western Australia 
would appear to be conclusively established, and 
it would seem to be deposited over a very exten- 
sive area. It is not likely that gold mining will 


ever be the principal industry of the country, for 
at any rate more than a brief period, but those who 
are attracted by the prospect of an easily-acquired 
fortune on the gold-fields readily turn their attention 
to other pursuits, and to the development of other re- 
sources of the country, which are of a more perma- 
nent nature. Western Australia has the advantage 
of the experience of the other colonies to guard her 
from the dangers invariably attending any sudden 
accession of population. Once let the country get 
a fair start, and its progress cannot fail to be rapid, 
for, besides its large pastoral resources, and belts of 
good mineral country extending from one end of the 
colony to the other, gold is not the only mineral of 
which it is possessed. Very rich lodes of copper and 
lead have already been worked successfully for m.any 
years, but, the price of these metals having fallen, 
the mines have temporarily stopped. The Govern- 
ment have offered, as an inducement for the estab- 
lishment of lead-smelting works, ^10,000 for the 
first ten thousand tons of lead smelted in the colony. 
A ready market can be obtained for the metal 
both in China and Singapore. In addition to 
the above metals coal and tin have been found 
in considerable cjuantities, and there is every indi- 
cation that in the near future, Western Australia 
will take, as a treasure-house of mineral resources, 
a high place among the colonies of the Australian 

Hitherto this province has certainly been a lag- 
gard amongst Australian States, but now that politi- 
cal freedom has been consummated, and its immense 



pastoral, mineral, and agricultural possibilities are 
becoming more perfectly appreciated and understood, 
the country is certain soon to assume a position more 
in accordance with its vast natural resources. 



(1829- 1 840.) 

The colony of South Australia was founded in an 
entirely different way, and for totally different reasons, 
to any of the other provinces, and its origin and early 
history are of peculiar interest. In 1829 Mr. Edward 
Gibbon Wakefield, who had spent some years in New 
South Wales, wrote a pamphlet, which was published 
in London under the title of " A Letter from Sydney." 
The author described graphically the conditions of 
social intercourse in the penal settlement, dwelling 
more particularly on the absence of the opportunity 
for refined enjoyment and literary or artistic cul- 
tivation in a community in which nearly all were 
workers. How, he asked, could intellectual life flourish 
in a country where there were no gradations in free 
society? It was impossible for a man of taste and 
education to farm his property with the aid of free 
workmen, for the inducements offered to the labouring 
classes to become themselves proprietors were so 



great that it was unreasonable to expect them to 
remain in service. For these reasons there must 
always be something wanting in colonial society 
built up upon the lines hitherto pursued. Instead of 
reproducing a nation strong both in its intellectual 
and physical parts — an extension, in fact, of the mother 
country — both good masters and good men would be 
absent, and their places would be taken by an unsatis- 
factory class of peasant proprietors, who would be 
able to do nothing to advance the higher life of the 
people, and who would be unable, from lack of capital, 
even to make the most of the land which they occupied. 
But Wakefield did not content himself with simply 
pointing out the poor results of existing methods of 
colonisation. He sought the cause of . failure, and 
endeavoured to construct a scheme, free from the evils 
of which he complained. 

The essence of this plan was that a " sufficient price " 
should be charged for the land, which should then be 
parted with absolutely to the purchaser, and that the 
supply of labourers by immigration, assisted by the 
revenue from land, should be as nearly as possible 
proportioned to the demand for labour at each settle- 
ment ; so that only possessors of capital should hold 
the land, and while capitalists would never suffer from 
an urgent want of labourers, labour would never fail 
to obtain well-paid employment. There is not space 
here to elaborate the details of Wakefield's plan, but 
it attracted much attention, and his theories were 
enthusiastically accepted in England by all sorts and 
conditions of men. In 1831 the first attempt was 
made to put the scheme into practice, and a South 


Australian association was formed with the object, to 
use Wakefield's words, of " substituting systematic 
colonisation for mere emigration." The suitability of 
the southern portion of Australia for colonisation had 
been determined by recent explorations, and the 
association applied to the English Government for a 
charter granting them what amounted to sovereign 
rights over the whole southern portion of the conti- 
nent. Objections were made to the surrender of 
legislative powers to an irresponsible company, and, 
although the promoters asked the Secretary of State 
for the Colonies to suggest modifications in their 
proposal, he declined to do so on the grounds that it 
was their business, not his, to formulate an acceptable 

Two years later negotiations on the subject were 
again commenced, and in August, 1834, the English 
Government passed a Bill empowering the Crown to 
establish a province in South Australia, and to appoint 
colonisation commissioners to look generally after the 
affairs of the new settlement. Wakefield's theory was 
to be carried out, to a certain extent, and the minimum 
price of land was fixed at 12s. ; a price very much 
above that charged in the other colonies. The com- 
missioners were authorised to borrow money, in anti- 
cipation of revenue from land sales, in order to promote 
immigration of the necessary labourers. The Act 
was a comprehensive measure, and there were other 
provisions to meet the requirements of the colony in 
the future, such, for instance, as the clause authoris- 
ing the establishment of a constitution for local self- 
government in any province containing fifty thousand 


inhabitants. These arrangements, however, never 
came into operation, and the most important point 
was the formation and status of the commission, and 
the refusal of the EngHsh Government to afford any 
pecuniary aid. If the experiment were tried, they 
said, the promoters must find the money. Colonel 
Torrens, who remained in England, as chairman, and 
Mr. Fisher, Resident Commissioner in Australia, with 
nine others, formed the Board, and a governor. 
Captain Hindmarsh, R.N., and a Surveyor-General, 
Colonel Light, were appointed by the Government to 
guard the interests of the Crown. But the duties of 
Hindmarsh and Fisher were ill-defined, and apparently 
both were nominally entrusted with supreme power in 
the control of the colony's affairs. 

The preliminary arrangements were soon completed, 
and the pioneer vessels, Dnke of York and Lady Mary 
Pelhain, sailed in February, 1836. After an unevent- 
ful voyage the ships arrived off the coast in August, 
and the emigrants were at once landed at Kangaroo 
Island, where a small whaling station already existed. 
But trouble began early, for when Colonel Light shortly 
afterwards arrived in the Rapid, he was dissatisfied 
with the island as a site for the capital of a settlement, 
and crossed to the mainland. Even then he had 
some difficulty in coming to a decision, and after ex- 
amining Port Lincoln he returned to Holdfast Bay, 
and settled on the spot where Adelaide now stands. 
The position was admirable in some respects, but it 
was seven miles from the nearest harbour, and great 
inconvenience was experienced in landing the baggage 
which the colonists had brought with them. Con- 


flicting opinions were freely expressed concerning 
the proposed site for the capital, many wishing to go 
to Encounter Bay ; but the supporters of Light pre- 
vailed, and the surveyors set to work to mark out the 
plan of the future city. Altogether, in 1836, nine 
ships arrived, carrying about five hundred persons, 
and amongst the number Governor Hindmarsh. Faith 
in the future prospects of the settlement was strong, 
and after the Governor had read the orders in Council 
founding the colony, in a tent pitched in Glenelg 
Plains, a banquet was held to commemorate the 
event, and for the moment the cause of dissension was 

But those who disagreed with Light's choice re- 
sumed active opposition, as 'soon as they discovered 
they enjoyed the sympathy of the Governor. A 
public meeting was held, at which Light was supported 
by Fisher, the Resident Commissioner, and a majority 
of the colonists ; but so much friction had been caused 
that the administrative arrangement which, under the 
most favourable conditions, would have been ano- 
malous, became utterly unworkable. Nevertheless, 
by March, 1837, the survey of the capital had been 
completed, and the first sales of allotments took place. 
The minimum price for land had been fixed at 12s. 
per acre to commence with, with the intention of 
raising it presently to £1, and at the first auction 
town-lots sold for from ^^3 to £it, each — a fairly 
satisfactory figure. But the colonists, instead of 
taking up country lands, clung to the skeleton city, 
and amused themselves by joining in the wrangle 
between Hindmarsh and Fisher, which was daily 


becoming more bitter. The utter absence of effort on 
the part of the pioneers to obtain anything from the 
soil is an extraordinary circumstance of the first few 
years of the colony's existence. The persons pos- 
sessed of capital commenced to speculate in town 
allotments, which it was supposed would rapidly rise 
in value as population increased, and labourers who 
had been brought out with the idea that plenty of 
agricultural work would be readily obtained had to 
live as best they could, being unable to discover any 
men of means to employ them. The gambling in 
city property became wilder and wilder, while most of 
the money brought by the intending settlers was paid 
away for food and clothing instead of the purchase 
of estates. Matters looked serious; the Governor and 
Commissioner were useless as far as directing the 
energies of the people went, for whatever was done by 
the one, the other offered opposition to. At length 
news of the unsatisfactory condition of things reached 
England, with the result that Hindmarsh was sum- 
marily recalled, and Fisher dismissed, while Colonel 
Gawler was sent out to take control, combining in his 
own person the tv/o vacant offices. In a despatch he 
describes the state of things which he found on his 
arrival. All the means of the colonists, he alleged, 
were vanishing in payment " for the necessaries of 
life." There were " scarcely any settlers in the coun- 
try ; no tillage ; very little sheep or cattle i:)asturing ; 
the two landing-places of the most indifferent descrip- 
tion ; the population shut up in Adelaide, existing 
principally upon the unhealthy and uncertain profits 
of land-jobbing." The public finances were in a hope- 


less muddle, and the expenditure authorised for the 
whole year, namely, ;^i 2,000, had all been drawn and 
spent in the first quarter. Each day the position was 
becoming more grave, for a poorer class of immigrants 
was arriving, under the expectation of obtaining 
work from those who had already been some time 
in the colony and were now practically without the 
means of sustenance. Prices rose rapidly. Bread- 
stuffs increased in a short time from ^20 to ;^8o per 
ton, and a strong desire to leave the miserable place 
was evinced by all who had not already squandered 
the money which might have taken them away. 
Gawler had to face a difficult situation, and his first 
care was for the starving crowds who had from no 
fault of their own been placed in this helpless position. 
If the private landowners could not or would not 
employ them, the Government must, in order to save 
them from an otherwise inevitable fate. Gawler at 
once commenced extensive public works. He managed 
to pay the destitute labourers, partly out of his own 
pocket, and partly by discounting bills on the English 
Treasury, but, apparently, on the principle that suffi- 
cient unto the day is the evil thereof, he quite dis- 
regarded the fact that there were no funds available 
to meet the cost of the work. The immediate pressure 
was removed, and the hungry mouths filled by the 
provisions which Gawler imported on the public 
account ; but his efforts met with no response from the 
more wealthy colonists, and the Government, having 
once accepted the responsibility of providing work for 
the unemployed, was unable to stop the expenditure 
until the demand for labour on the part of the public 


relieved it of its burthen. Doubtless Gavvler expected 
that, if the immediate crisis were safely passed, 
private enterprise would at length come forward to 
develop the natural resources of the country, and he 
is more to be pitied than blamed for the disastrous 
consequences of his action. When he arrived he was 
in a dilemma from which there was no escape. 

The public works which were undertaken were, for 
the most part, valuable of their kind. Extensive 
wharves and warehouses were erected at the port, in 
addition to a custom house, and a good road was 
laid to the city. Other public buildings, including an 
expensive residence for the Governor, were put up, but 
still the crowd of labourers which clamoured for work 
showed no signs of decreasing. Gawler had exhausted 
his own fortune in the payment of wages, and no 
revenue could be obtained from the colony ; so the 
only course open was to draw bills on the English 
Treasury for larger and larger sums. The first few 
drafts were honoured readily enough, for the English 
Government recognised the difficulty of Gawler's 
position, and the sore straits in which he had found 
the colony ; but when the bills became more frequent, 
and amounts higher, Gawler was informed that no 
more drafts would be paid. Already, however, he 
had incurred liabilities amounting to nearly ;^400,ooo, 
and as the warning from the English Government 
was emphasised by the refusal to pay ;^69,ooo worth 
of bills on presentation, matters were abruptly brought 
to a crisis. Speculation in land was immediately con- 
verted into an universal desire to sell at any price, 
and the marketable value of real estate fell lower and 


lower. A general exodus of all who could afford to 
go away followed, but the supply of provisions had 
ceased with the dishonour of the Governor's bills, and 
in spite of the reduction in numbers, the community 
was stared in the face by starvation. 

But such a state of things inevitably produced its 
own remedy. The famine prices of provisions made 
people seriously entertain the idea of growing wheat 
or rearing stock themselves, and the ridiculously low 
figure at which land could now be bought enabled 
those who previously had expected to earn wages to 
become themselves proprietors. A large number of 
sheep and cattle had moreover been brought overland 
from Port Phillip and New South Wales, by the most 
enterprising of the squatters, many of whom were so 
well satisfied with the quality of the country in South 
Australia that they determined to remain ; so that 
both agricultural and pastoral pursuits were at last 
systematically prosecuted. 

The little settlement about this time presented a 
curious spectacle. Society might be roughly divided 
into three classes — first, the original immigrants, who 
had started from England with a certain amount of 
capital, which had been as a rule squandered in specu- 
lation ; secondly, the wretched, starving labourers ; 
and last (but by no means the least important), the 
" Overlanders " from the other colonies, who not 
infrequently dissipated much of what they received 
from their live stock in noisy revelry, which scanda- 
lised the little town. These wild bushmen were the 
only people who were contented or well-to-do, and 
their prosperity stood out in greater contrast owing 


to the misery and hopelessness of their surround- 

Meanwhile the serious predicament in which the 
colony was placed by its practical inability to pay 
its debts had been occupying the attention of the 
English Government. Gawler appears to have been 
held entirely responsible for the trouble, and the 
difficulties which he inherited from his predecessor 
were overlooked in the desire to fix the blame for the 
failure of the colonising scheme on some one. As a 
matter of fact, the collapse was a natural sequence of 
the apathy and ignorance of the first batch of immi- 
grants, for seeds were sown in the first few months of 
the occupation of the territory which could not fail 
to bear disastrous fruit, however capable might have 
been the administration of the Government. Gawler 
was the scapegoat, and in May, 1841, he was uncere- 
moniously recalled. The English Government had 
determined to lend the colony sufficient to enable it 
to pay its debts, and to entirely remodel the system 
of administration. The Commission was abolished, 
and South Australia became to all intents and pur- 
poses a Crown colony. 

Captain George Grey was despatched to take 
charge, and Gawler was surprised one day by a visit 
from this officer, who presented his papers, and im- 
mediately took the reins of government into his own 
hands. Grey was fortunate, for he reaped the full 
benefit of the lesson learnt by the people from past 
failures. As soon as farming was energetically pro- 
secuted it was found that the land, which had 
appeared nothing but an uninviting wilderness to the 




first arrivals, was in reality extremely fertile, and 
admirably adapted both for agriculture and wool 
growing. The change wrought by a couple of years 
of steady work was wonderful. Butter and cheese 
were exported in considerable quantities, and the area 
under wheat had so broadened that the crop yielded 
a surplus available for export over and above local 
requirements. After the harvest of 1845 not only 
were the neighbouring markets fully stocked with 
South Australian breadstufifs, but there was a large 
balance remaining on the hands of farmers for which 
they could find no purchasers. 




The year 1840 is memorable on account of the 
efforts at exploration made by Edward Johh Eyre, 
who, with five Europeans, three aborigines, some 
horses, and a small flock of sheep, started from 
Adelaide, intending, if possible, to penetrate the 
interior and cross the continent. Journeying first to 
the head of Spencer's Gulf, he there received a fresh 
supply of provisions from a small vessel which had 
been sent to meet him, and then, after travelling some 
way through an arid desert, he turned to the west, 
and sighted what at first appeared to be a large lake, 
but on closer examination proved to be nothing 
but a dried-up bed, covered with a sheet of glittering 
salt. Boldly the explorers advanced on the trea- 
cherous surface, but at every step the coat of salt 
cracked, and their feet sank into thick black mud. 
For some miles they pursued their way, but at length 
the black ooze became so deep that they were com- 
pelled to retrace their steps, and seek some way round 


eyre's exploring expedition. 309 

the shores of the swamp. After much fruitless toil 
they were obliged to hasten back to the nearest 
stream, but, having procured a fresh store of water, 
they again faced the inhospitable interior, and twice 
their path was barred by the great salt lakes. At 
length, turning westward, they pushed forward, but 
were soon deep in a barren waste, desolate in the 
extreme. Again supplies ran short, and death from 
thirst stared them in the face, when their fears were 
removed by the sight of a fair-sized river in the dis- 
tance. Hastening joyfully to its banks, they eagerly 
knelt to drink the water, but to their horror and 
despair found it salt, and hopelessly they turned back 
towards the head of Spencer's Gulf Loath, however, 
to return to Adelaide without having accomplished 
something in the way of discovery, instead of turning 
homeward they travelled along the shores of the 
Great Australian Bight, with the intention of follow- 
ing the coast to Albany. The lack of water again 
greatly retarded progress. Three times they struggled 
round Streaky Bay, but as often had to return to 
obtain water to drink. At length Eyre made the 
whole of his party, with the exception of one man 
named Baxter and three natives, return to Adelaide, 
and, taking a few horses and a large supply of water 
and provisions, he and his four companions once more 
made an attempt to round the Bight. Day after day 
they struggled on through loose sand and burning 
rocks, all the time suffering greatly from the glare 
and the want of water. Once the whole party nearly 
perished. Even the horses fell down, unable to pro- 
ceed any further. But after a long tramp Eyre with 


one attendant discovered several small holes, appa- 
rently dug in the sand by the natives, and gathering 
water hastened back to revive the exhausted animals. 
They camped at the water holes for a week, and then 
once more set out on their perilous journey. Again 
they passed a long stretch of desert waste, and two 
of the beasts died ; consequently a large portion of 
the provisions had to be abandoned. But to turn 
back now was as hopeless as to go forward, and they 
despondently pushed on. Baxter, while Eyre was 
absent a short time from the camp, was murdered by 
two of the blacks, who looted the stores and ran 
away. The ground was too rocky for Eyre even to 
dig a grave in which to lay his friend's body, and, roll- 
ing it in a blanket, he left it on the scorched rock. 
With the remaining black he trudged wearily onwards, 
until at length a vessel was observed close to the 
coast, and signs made by Eyre were answered. Fresh 
clothes and food were obtained from the captain, and 
three weeks later they reached Albany, and were 
received with enthusiasm by the inhabitants. After 
remaining a short time, they returned to Adelaide, 
where Eyre's account of his travels created a deep 

A very great change in the prospects of the settle- 
ment was about this time caused by the discovery of 
rich mineral deposits. During 1841 a man in charge 
of a team of bullocks was crossing the Mount Lofty 
Range, and, as the road was steep and rough, on 
reaching the summit he resorted to the common 
expedient of making a heavy log fast to the tail of 
the waggon to act as a drag, or brake, to prevent the 


load from pressing too heavily on the bullocks. This 
done, the journey was resumed, but as the waggon 
went lumbering along over ruts and boulders the log 
bumped and ploughed up the track in its rear, and 
the eye of the driver, who had loitered a little behind, 
was suddenly caught by the glitter of something in 
the freshly disturbed earth. He picked it up and 
examined it. It certainly was a very bright and 
heavy piece of rock, and, what was more, the whole 
surrounding country was covered with the same stuff. 
Convinced that the stone contained some valuable 
mineral, he gathered specimens, and made the best of 
his way to Adelaide. On showing his find to per- 
sons in the city he learned that it was rich ore, and 
shortly afterwards the land on which he had seen 
it was opened up, and a quantity of silver and silver 
lead obtained. 

In the following year a still more important dis- 
covery was made on Kapunda Station, first by a son 
of the proprietor. Captain Bagot, and shortly after- 
wards by an overseer named Dutton. Attracted by 
the brilliant green colour of an outcropping rock, an 
examination showed that the land hid extensive 
deposits of rich copper ore. Captain Bagot saw his 
opportunity, and, without allowing any suspicion of 
the nature of his find to get abroad, applied to have 
the eighty acres which embraced the lode put up to 
auction. It was apparently rocky, sterile country, so 
there was no competition, and it was bought by Bagot 
for a minimum price of ^'i per acre. As soon as he 
had possession active operations were commenced, 
with the most satisfactory results, and an enormous 


return was obtained by the lucky owners. The 
Kapunda mine became the great topic of conversa- 
tion, and men and money began to flow into South 
Australia from the other provinces. The search for 
mineral wealth soon resulted in the discovery of 
another rich copper reef, about forty-five miles from 
Kapunda, and ninety miles from Adelaide. The 
land on which it was situated was still the property 
of the Crown, and as rumours of the find had got 
abroad, keen competition was anticipated if the sec- 
tions were put up to auction. There appeared only 
one way to avoid this, which was for those anxious 
to become possessed of the mine to combine and 
avail themselves of the provision of the Crown Lands 
Regulation which permitted specially surveyed blocks 
of not less than 20,000 acres to be bought at the 
minimum of ^i per acre without competition. Two 
companies were hastily formed to purchase the land 
on these terms — one consisting principally of Captain 
Bagot's friends, and the other of merchants and 
tradesmen in Adelaide. The rival parties watched 
each other with jealous eyes, fearing that each would 
forestall the other before arrangements could be com- 

But in a small community such as that in South 
Australia i^20,000 in gold was a large sum to find for 
speculative purposes, and at length, as competitors 
from Sydney were expected, the two companies 
were forced to combine their forces in self-defence, 
on the understanding that directly the land was 
bought it should be equally divided between Bagot's 
" Princess Royal Company " — or, as they were popu- 

"nobs" and "snobs'' land companies. 313 

larly called, the " Nobs " — and the " South Australian 
Mining Company," commonly known as the " Snobs." 
After an enormous amount of trouble, the necessary 
i^20,ooo in gold was scraped together, the Governor 
refusing to accept anything in payment except 
coin, and the land was secured. It was generally 
supposed that copper was to be obtained from 
the whole of the property, but after the division 
had been made the expectations of the " Princess 
Royal Company " were by no means realised, while 
the Burra Burra mine, belonging to the " Snobs," 
yielded handsome returns. The copper deposits 
v/ere actively worked, and before long there were 
fully five thousand persons on the field, and the roads 
to the new town were constantly traversed by hun- 
dreds of teams of bullocks, which plodded from the 
seaboard to the mines, carrying provisions and stores 
for the miners, or bringing the heavy ores to port for 
shipment to Europe. 

The sudden acquisition of mineral wealth, perhaps 
more than anything else, raised South Australia from 
the slough of despond into which it had sunk, and 
Grey was enabled to put into force the principles 
which Gawler had wished, but had been unable to 
follow. At first his energetic administration provoked 
great opposition, and noisy meetings were held in 
Adelaide, at which violence was threatened if he 
persisted in his policy of retrenchment, and the 
Governor's recall was loudly demanded. The wages 
of men on public works were reduced from is. 6d. 
(with rations) per day to is. 2d., and everything 
that could be done was done to make Government 


employment compare unfavourably with the offers 
of private masters. Meanwhile the estimates of 
expenditure which had been prepared for Gawler 
were ruthlessly cut down, and strenuous efforts 
were made to bring the public outgo to something 
approaching the same figure as the legitimate 
public income. The steps taken were successful, 
and Grey, by his carefulness and determination, 
soon produced order out of chaos, and prepared 
the colony to reap the full benefit of its changed 
prospects. In three years the expenditure was 
brought to one-sixth of its former amount, and 
meantime the revenue from local sources had mate- 
rially increased. 

Even while the outlook was most gloomy, the 
inhabitants had been frequently pleading for 
representative institutions. The settlement had 
scarcely shown itself capable of properly managing 
its own affairs, and the answer to the prayer of 
the petitioners was that before the representative 
principle could be conceded it must " be made evident 
that the internal resources of the colony are fully 
adequate to provide for its own expenditure." In 
the meantime a nominee council, consisting of seven 
members, was appointed to assist the Governor, and 
take in some degree the place which had been oc- 
cupied by the defunct commission. Grey had done 
well, and the success of his administration won the 
applause of many who were the loudest, shortly before, 
in the denunciation of his methods. In 1845 more 
meetings were held, but this time praise, not blame, 
was showered on the head of the Governor, who at 


the height of his popularity was transferred to New- 

Colonel J. H. Robe was selected to fill Grey's place, 
but his career in South Australia was short and 
troubled, for although a fine, straightforward man, he 
was always out of touch with the feelings of his sub- 
jects. The chief difficulty arose from an attempt to 
tax the output of the mines, but the violent opposition 
which this measure excited was due as much to hostile 
feeling towards the Governor on account of his Re- 
ligious Endowment Bill, as to any injustice in the 
proposition to impose a royalty on minerals. Robe 
had endeavoured soon after his arrival to pass a Bill 
affording State aid " to provide for ordinances of 
religion," and only carried his point in the Council 
after a bitter struggle. When, therefore, his next 
important measure, the Mineral Royalty Bill, came 
on for discussion, it created no surprise that even the 
Council deserted him. As he could not obtain legis- 
lative sanction to the tax, he endeavoured to impose 
it on the authority of royal prerogative. This step 
was obviously a mistake, and called forth a stormy 
and angry protest ; indeed. Robe's inability to get on 
with those under his charge became so apparent that 
the English Government recalled him. 

The next Governor sent out was Sir Henry Young, 
who was possessed of just the qualities which Robe 
had lacked. He entered with enthusiasm into all the 
schemes of the settlers for the rapid development of 
the colony, and led the way with more energy than 
discretion in many attempts to open up the country. 
The event which is most intimately associated with 


his^ name is the navigation of the river Murray. It 
appeared to Young that great things must follow 
could the magnificent waterway of the Murray be 
used for navigation, and money was freely spent to 
attain this object. Large sums were expended in an 
attempt to remove the bar at the mouth of the river, 
and a prize of i5"4,ooo was offered to the first person 
who should successfully navigate the Murray to the 
junction of the Darling in an iron steamer. Such a 
reward naturally produced competitors, and, after 
infinite trouble and expense, Mr. Cadell succeeded in 
accomplishing the feat ; but the ;^4,ooo did not cover 
his outlay, and when he tried subsequently to create 
a carrying trade in wool from the stations aloi;ig the 
banks of the river to the sea, his efforts ended in 
financial failure. The Governor was not more fortu- 
nate at Port Elliot. As fast as the sand was dredged 
away, fresh deposits of silt accumulated, until at last 
the attempt to form a harbour was abandoned, and 
the i^20,ooo or more which had been spent upon the 
work was practically thrown away. 

The advance of South Australia received a check in 
185 1, when the discovery of gold in Victoria caused 
the greater part of the capital and enterprise which 
had worked such wonders to be suddenly withdrawn. 
A period of general stagnation followed, and it looked 
by no means improbable that the miserable times of 
Gawler were going to be repeated. The copper mines 
were still kept open, but only with great difficulty, for 
the gold-fields had attracted a very large proportion 
of the adult male population, and the properties could 
not obtain sufficient labourers. Agricultural and 



















pastoral pursuits suffered most, and for a short time 
the fields which should have been waving with yellow 
corn were bare and neglected, and the flocks and 
herds had to get along as best they could, unshepherded 
and uncared for. While Adelaide was languishing, 
Young's ears were filled with stories of the fabulous 
wealth and growth of Melbourne, until the Governor 
decided to make an effort to divert to the South 
Australian port for shipment some of the stream of 
gold which was flowing from the Victorian mines. 
An extremely well equipped gold escort was therefore 
established between Bendigo and Adelaide, and the 
advantages anticipated by Young were to some extent 
realised. As the excitement of the first rush died out, 
many of those who had deserted South Australia 
returned to their former homes, finding that it was a 
surer and more profitable enterprise in the end to 
supply bread and other necessaries to the miners than 
to join themselves in the feverish hunt which ended so 
much more often in failure than a fortune. 

The returning population brought renewed pros- 
perity, but the sudden exodus had produced some 
curious problems, which the Government had great 
difficulty in solving. The most remarkable of these 
was the complete withdrawal of all coined money from 
the colony by persons travelling to Victoria. Before 
the gold rush had been long in progress it was found 
that very grave difficulty was being experienced by 
merchants and others, owing to the want of a common 
circulating medium. There was gold in plenty, after 
the institution of the escort from Bendigo, but' it 
varied in fineness, and was unsuitable for exchange pur- 


poses, on account of the opportunities its use afforded 
for fraudulent practices. The position was serious, 
for commerce showed signs of being paralysed by the 
difficulties thus created. The Governor had no 
authority to coin, and no plant for minting purposes, 
so he took the next best course, and issued little 
blocks or ingots of the precious metal of an uniform 
size and fineness. The expedient met the case, and 
relieved the commercial strain, but the action taken 
by Young was without doubt 7iltra vires, and he con- 
sequently received a mild rebuke at the hands of the 
Secretary of State. 

Meanwhile the work of opening up the interior had 
been pushed ahead. John McDowall Stuart, who 
had been in Sturt's expedition to the Stoney Desert, 
was employed in 1859 by a number of squatters 
to explore new country, and, having found a pas- 
sage between Lakes Eyre and Torrens, discovered 
fine pastures. In the following year, the South Aus- 
tralian Government offered iJ"2,ooo to the first person 
who should cross the continent from south to north, 
and Stuart started from Adelaide to make the attempt. 
With two men he travelled towards Van Diemen's Gulf, 
and penetrated to within four hundred miles of the 
coast ; but the natives were so hostile that he had to 
return. The next year he followed the same course, 
and got to within 250 miles of the northern shores, but 
want of provisions on this occasion made him again 
turn back. The report of this expedition was sent to 
Burke and Wills, and was received by them shortly 
before they left Cooper's Creek for the first time. In 
1862, Stuart succeeded in reaching Van Diemen's 



Gulf, and returned safely, but a shadow was thrown 
over his entry into Adelaide by the arrival on the 
same day of the remains of Burke and Wills, on 
their way to Melbourne. 




South Australia went through much the same 
stages of constitutional development as the other 
Australian colonies, and although the final measure 
conceding autonomy was based on more democratic 
principles than anywhere else, the political life of the 
country has been comparatively uneventful. In 185 1, 
when the Legislatures of New South Wales and Vic- 
toria were altered, a Council consisting of eight 
nominee and sixteen elected members was provided. 
This arrangement, however, was of short duration. 
When the Council met in 1853, the Governor informed 
members that Bills had been prepared making the 
necessary provision for an alteration of the Constitution. 
The idea was that a nominee Upper House should be 
created, the seats in which would be tenable for life, 
and that an Assembly should be elected by the 
people on a low suffrage every three years. The 
authority of the two chambers was to be equal on all 
points, except that Money Bills should be introduced 

22 321 


in the Assembly ; but the rather remarkable stipula- 
tion was made that the latter body might, at the 
termination of the third Parliament, pass a Bill 
changing the constitution of the Council, and making 
it elective without requiring the consent of that body 
to the alteration. But popular feeling was so averse 
to a nominated body of any description, even with the 
safeguards suggested, that these proposals were never 
made law, and in deference to the wishes expressed 
by the inhabitants the original Constitution Bill was 
delayed in England, and eventually referred back to 
the South Australian Council for amendment. At 
length, at the* close of 1855, another measure, very 
different in character, was forwarded from the colony 
for the sanction of the Imperial Parliament. The 
Legislative Council in the second Bill was, like that 
of Tasmania, elected by the colony as one constituency, 
on a low franchise, and the province was divided into 
districts for the election of members to the Assembly, 
the basis of the suffrage being that each male adult, 
above the age of twenty-one years, duly registered and 
resident for six months in South Australia, should 
have the privilege of one vote. The Bill was passed 
intact by the Imperial Parliament, and received the 
royal assent in January, 1856. 

From that time to the present but little constitu- 
tional change has been effected, and although the life 
of successive ministries has been extremely short, 
contests between the two houses have been rare, and 
the public life of the colony has been singularly free 
from violent upheaval. With the attainment of 
plenary powers of legislation, the history of social and 

MR. R. TORRENS. 323 

political development practically closes, and the only 
events to be described in the following years are the 
great efforts which have been made towards internal 
expansion and amendment of the arrangements 
affecting the disposal of the public estate. The 
legislation of the colony was adorned in 1858 by a 
measure of such obvious and universal utility that it 
has been generally adopted, not only by the other 
provinces of the Australian group, but in a large mea- 
sure by the mother country, Mr. R. Torrens, who 
was a Government official before the inauguration of 
the new Constitution, and later a member of the first 
Legislative Assembly, became impressed with the 
extreme difficulty which existed in the transference of 
real estate. To remove these hindrances, he devised 
a method by which registration was combined with a 
system of endorsement on the original title deed of 
all changes made in the ownership of the land ; so 
that, instead of a long series of involved legal docu- 
ments, the purchaser of real estate would only have to 
be satisfied as to the soundness of one deed. A mea- 
sure of such sweeping reform could not be introduced 
without a large amount of opposition, but Torrens' 
Bill was nevertheless passed, and it has proved to be 
one of the greatest boons ever conferred upon the 

Although, owing to the energy of Torrens, facilities 
for dealing in private property were greatly increased, 
the regulations affecting the public domain remained 
for some years much less satisfactory than those 
in force elsewhere. The early troubles of South 
Australia resulting from the half-hearted attempt to 


put into operation the system of land alienation pro- 
pounded by Gibbon Wakefield have already been 
recounted. The early regulations were from time to 
time modified, but no radical change was made in the 
land laws until 1872. In the year named, an Act was 
passed arranging for survey of all land before sale. 
It was then put up to auction, those who expressed 
the intention of residing on their properties being 
given first choice. After this class had been satisfied, 
non-residents were permitted to compete for the 
remainder, and what was left was open to selection, 
without competition, at a minimum price of £l per 
acre. The payments were easy and spread over 
a number of years, and a certain value of improvement 
by the purchaser was necessary before a title could be 

In 1888 the Act which has just been described 
gave way to a new law which with slight amendment 
is still in force. All metals and minerals are reserved 
to the Crown, and special arrangements are made for 
long leases for pastoral tenants, and sales by auction 
for cash in some cases, and on deferred payments in 
others. The mining industry is provided for by the 
issue of specific or general mining leases, these last 
being practically prospecting licenses. The conditions 
to ensure the improvement and stocking of pastoral 
properties are stringent, but an encouragement to 
pioneers is given by the offer to dona fide discoverers 
of new pastures of a lease at the rate of 2s. 6d. per 
annum for each square mile of country occupied. A 
special feature of the measure is the portion referring 
to working-men's blocks. Under these clauses twenty- 


acre lots in certain localities may be leased at a 
nominal rental to any one who gains his livelihood 
by his own labour ; but residence on the property is 
required. In all cases the rent and price of the land 
is determined by specially appointed boards, who 
classify the country under their direction and super- 
vise all sales and other transactions. 

The Northern Territory of South Australia, which 
lies within the tropics, is dealt with under a special 
Act, which was passed in 1882, and the inducements 
to settlers in this district are on an even more liberal 
scale. Permission is given for alienation of blocks of 
1280 acres at the rate of 12s. 6d. per acre cash, or on 
deferred payments; for pastoral occupation leases of 
any area up to four hundred square miles are granted 
for seven years at 6d. and for a further eighteen years 
at 2s. 6d. per annum per square mile. In order to 
encourage the growth of tropical crops, extremely 
advantageous arrangements are made for the leasing 
or purchase of cultivation blocks. Hitherto no great 
progress has been made in the Northern Territory, 
although in 1864 a serious attempt was made to 
utilise the country which had lately been added by 
the English Government to South Australia, at the 
colony's request. Surveyors were despatched to the 
Gulf to mark out a town and chart the country 
preparatory to leasing or alienation, and land orders 
were offered both in England and Adelaide at a 
very low figure in the hope of inducing settlement. 
These first attempts were, however, far from success- 
ful. The surveyors quarrelled amongst themselves, 
and the greater portion of the staff deserted their 


chief and returned to Adelaide. After five years had 
been wasted Mr. Goyder, Surveyor-General, himself 
went north, and selected Port Darwin as the best site 
for a settlement, and a town called Palmerston had 
scarcely been laid out before the discovery of gold 
and the determination of the Government to construct 
a telegraph right across the continent from Adelaide 
gave the new settlement a fair start. Land in this 
distant region was offered at is. 6d. an acre, on 
deferred payment, and a bonus to encourage the 
cultivation of sugar was promised by the Govern- 

The life of the little colony in the Northern 
Territory has so much depended on the overland 
telegraph line, that it may be well here to refer to the 
work. This undertaking had long been contemplated, 
but the rather vague ideas on the subject were 
crystallised by an offer of the British Australian 
Telegraph Company, which contracted to lay a 
submarine cable from Singapore to Van Diemen's 
Gulf, if the South Australian Government would 
undertake to connect Adelaide with Port Darwin, by 
an overland wire, thus completing telegraphic com- 
munication with Europe. The proposition was 
favourably received, and the work entered upon with 
enthusiasm. Mr. Todd was placed in charge, and it 
was evident from the outset that enormous difficulties 
would have to be overcome. For one thing, over 
1,300 miles of telegraph wire would have to be laid 
through practically unexplored country, a great 
portion of which was nothing but rocky sandy 
deserts, devoid of both pasture and water. The 


whole distance, some 2,200 miles, was divided into 
three sections, and while Mr. Todd entrusted the two 
extremities to contractors, he himself personally- 
supervised the middle portion. The time for the 
completion of the work was the ist of January, 1872, 
when the Cable Company had agreed to have per- 
formed their part ; and before this date both the 
Adelaide end and the centre section had been finished. 
In the far north, however, the work had failed. There 
were no trees for posts, the difficulties of transport 
were almost unsurmountable, and the tropical heat 
was too great for the labour of Europeans. It looked 
at one time, indeed, as if the junction would never be 
made, and as the date agreed upon had nearly arrived, 
and the company threatened to sue the Government for 
damages if the line was then unfinished, there was 
much consternation in Adelaide. Mr. Todd hastened 
up to the Port Darwin end, to see what could be 
done. Coolies and Chinese were introduced, wells 
were dug along the route and iron posts provided 
where trees could not be obtained, and by great 
exertions things were pushed forward. A fracture 
in the submarine cable had meanwhile relieved the 
Government from fear, and in August the two ends 
of the overland wire were joined at Central Mount 
Stewart, and then the first telegraph message was 
flashed from shore to shore. By October the cable 
had been repaired, and telegraphic communication 
was established with the old world, Australians thus 
being able to read at their breakfast tables events 
which had occurred in Europe but a few hours 
previously. Before many years had passed, another 


telegraph line was carried along the arid shores 
between Adelaide and Albany in Western Australia, 
so that now there is direct communication between 
the four extremities of the Australian continent 

The construction of railways has also been con- 
siderable, but at present the railway system is confined 
to the south-eastern corner of the colony, with the 
exception of the track which runs northward towards 
Port Darwin. The first sod of the great trans- 
continental railway, which has its southern terminus, 
at Port Augusta, was turned by the Governor, Sir 
William Jervois, in 1878, and it has since been 
extended 686 miles from Adelaide to Oodnadatta. 
The construction was also commenced at the Port 
Darwin end, and the line was carried to Pine Creek, 
leaving a gap about 1,140 miles still to be covered 
before traffic can be opened from the southern to 
the northern coast. 

There is little more to be said with regard to South 
Australia, which has been singularly happy in an un- 
eventful history. Gold has been discovered within 
its borders, but not in sufficient quantities to affect 
its destiny to any great extent. Nevertheless it is rich 
in minerals, and the copper deposits of Burra Burra 
have been eclipsed by similar discoveries at Moonta 
and Wallaroo. Agriculture has steadily progressed, 
and although the yield of wheat is light per acre, 
the cost of clearing and preparing the soil for tillage 
is proportionately small, and the South Australian 
harvest affords annually a large surplus of breadstuff's 
for exportation to Europe and the other colonies. 
This province is essentially one of great poten- 


tialitics. Much of the country between Adelaide and 
Port Darwin, which was long supposed to be abso- 
lutely useless, and nothing but desert, has proved to 
be not unsuitable for pastoral purposes, while many 
of the rivers which flow into the Gulf of Carpentaria 
are bordered by rich alluvial flats which probably 
some day will be covered by extensive cotton and 
sugar plantations. The great problem to be solved 
is the supply of labour in the tropics ; but apart from 
this, a very large portion of the country is as yet 
practically unexplored, and until more perfect know- 
ledge is obtained of its capabilities it will be rash 
to predict what the future of South Australia may be. 



(1825-185 I.) 

Tpie colony of Queensland owes its origin to the 
report made by Mr. Bigge, on the state of the penai 
establishments — towards the close of the reign of 
Governor Macquarie in New South Wales — in v/hich 
he recommended that some spot should be found 
to which the worst class of criminals could be 
despatched, where they would be far away from the 
temptations which were inseparable from a com- 
munity partly bond and partly free. Surveyor- 
General Oxley was therefore sent in the cutter 
Mermaid to seek on the northern coast some place 
which would meet these requirements. Port Curtis 
was his original destination ; but after a careful 
examination he was dissatisfied with its qualifica- 
tions, and turned southwards towards Moreton Bay. 
While lying at anchor, a party of natives was 
observed approaching the shore, and the attention 


of those on board was turned towards one man, 
who appeared to be possessed by an uncontrollable 
delight at the sight of the ship. A boat was sent 
ashore, and the copper-coloured savage turned out 
to be one of a party of four Europeans, who had 
left Sydney with the intention of sailing to the 
Illawarra district (to the south of the capital of 
New South Wales), but had been driven by storms 
far out of their course, and had all nearly died from 
thirst and exposure. After terrible hardships, under 
which one of the number succumbed, land was 
sighted, and the three remaining castaways beached 
their boat at a spot where they perceived a stream 
of fresh water. The intruders were soon surrounded 
by natives, but were treated with extreme kindness, 
and Pamphlett — who now told the tale to Oxley — 
had remained with them ever since. The desire 
for civilised life had been too strong for the others, 
who had started off to walk home under the im- 
pression that they were south of Sydney. It is 
needless to say that they were never heard of since. 
With Pamphlett's aid a large river was discovered, 
and Oxley at once rowed fifty miles up and made 
a hurried survey of the country. On his return to 
Sydney he gave a most enthusiastic description of 
his discoveries, with the result that after considerable 
correspondence between the Imperial Government 
and the Governor — in which the reluctance of the 
Secretary of State to found a new settlement was 
apparent — Oxley was ordered in September, 1824, 
to again set sail for the Brisbane River, in the brig 
Amity. He had on board a detachment of the 40th 


Regiment, in charge of Lieutenant Miller, and thirty 
prisoners, who were to form the first penal settle- 
ment on the north-east coast. In the following year 
Captain Logan was appointed to the command, and 
in 1826 Sir Thomas Brisbane himself visited the new 
depot, which in his opinion met all the requirement 
of Bigge's report as it was far from all civilised 
habitations, and it was practically impossible for 
a prisoner to escape. Rapidly additions were made 
to the convict population, but as no free settlers 
were permitted to come within fifty miles of the gaol, 
the early doings at Brisbane are buried in oblivion. 
Sufficient, nevertheless, is known to show that the 
Moreton Bay depot rivalled in corruption and 
brutality Tasman's Peninsula or Norfolk Island. 
Tales of horrible cruelty and disgusting immorality, 
both on the part of the convicts and the natives 
amongst whom they were suddenly thrown, were 
not uncommon ; and at length matters were brought 
to a crisis by the murder of Logan. The deed was 
committed either by convicts — in retaliation for some 
of the ferocious attacks which had been made upon 
them by the overseers — or else by the natives, who 
had received almost equal provocation. Previous to 
this tragedy, Logan had energetically explored the 
country, with which he was almost as much pleased 
as Oxley had been, and made also experiments in 
cotton-growing and in the establishment of some 
primitive industries. 

From the date of Logan's death, the Governors of 
New South Wales appear to have had a desire to 
abandon Moreton Bay, and the criminal establish- 


ment was gradually reduced. Meanwhile the dis- 
coveries of the explorers who had pierced the 
country between Sydney and the north, traversing 
the Darling Downs, had induced large numbers of 
stockowners to drive their flocks and herds on to 
the new pastures ; and the out-stations of the most 
enterprising crept nearer and nearer to Brisbane. 
In 1839 it was determined to entirely abandon 
Moreton Bay as a penal establishment, and Lieu- 
tenant Gorman was sent up to remove the last 
relics of the gaol. The prohibition against free 
settlers on the Brisbane River was still in force ; 
but, although not revoked for some time, it became 
a dead letter, and many more free men settled on 
the banks of the river. By 1841 a large portion of 
the Darling Downs had been taken up by squatters, 
and the settlement of the country further north had 
so far progressed that the Government considered 
it necessary to offer allotments in the towns for sale. 
Sir George Gipps came up from Sydney and laid 
out the plan of the town of Brisbane, on the 
Brisbane River, and another town further inland 
called Ipswich, while townships named Toowoomba 
and Drayton began to gather round two wayside 
inns, established for the convenience of travellers 
across the Darling Downs. The first auction of 
Crown lands situated in Brisbane was held in 
Sydney ; sites met with ready sale, at prices 
averaging about ;^343 per acre. 

In December, 1841, the ordinary machinery of 
government for a free community was provided ; 
and Captain Wickham was sent as police magistrate, 


while Crown lands commissioners were appointed 
for the Darling Downs and Moreton Bay districts. 
The pastoral industries of the province rapidly 
increased ; but its otherwise satisfactory progress 
was marred by the gross brutality displayed towards 
the natives. The very early settlers seem to have 
been inconvenienced but little by the depredations 
or hostility of the aborigines, but soon the atrocities 
committed by the shepherds and stockmen on out- 
lying stations called forth acts of retaliatory violence 
from the blacks, which were in their turn followed 
by inhuman revenge at the hands of the white men. 
The settlers were urgent in their appeals for more 
police protection, and a body of native police officered 
by Europeans, was formed to cope with the disorders 
which were becoming more and more frequent. But 
they only made things worse, for a member of one 
native tribe displays savage enjoyment in the 
slaughter of members of any other tribes, and the 
native police soon developed into an armed force for 
the extermination of the aboriginal inhabitants. 

It is needless to record here in detail the disgust- 
ing atrocities, which are well known to all who were 
connected with pioneering work in Queensland, but 
a few instances will be sufficient to give an idea of 
the manner in which the blacks were " civilised." 
At the commencement of i860, two partners in a 
station complained in the papers that a party of 
native police had shot and wounded a large number 
of blacks, many of whose bodies were left to rot 
unburied within a mile or two of the homestead. 
Even those natives who had been employed pretty 


constantly for many years by the owners did not 
escape, but friendly and hostile blacks had been 
indiscriminately shot down. A further instance is 
recorded in which a sub-inspector of police hand- 
cuffed a native boy, tying his arms to a high rafter 
in the verandah of the police barracks, and then 
flogged and kicked him until he was so maimed that 
he shortly died ; while on another occasion some 
squatters rode down and shot no less than twenty- 
two natives, and after spending the night by a water- 
hole, walked round in the morning, and dashed out 
the brains of those who were not yet dead with one 
of their own clubs. The troopers showed little com- 
punction in murdering scores of the natives, and 
on one occasion, when a white man had been killed 
by two blacks, a body of police in the dead of night 
stealthily surrounded the tribe to which the culprits 
belonged. A korroboree was being held at the time ; 
at a given signal the police fired a volley into 
the midst of the dancing crowd, and then rushed in 
to complete the work of destruction. A common 
method of freeing a run of the aborigines was also 
by wholesale poisoning. A barrel of flour, in which 
white arsenic had been mixed, was given with a 
smile as a present to the unsuspecting victims, and 
before long half the tribe would be writhing and 
screaming in agony, which at last terminated in 
death. Could it be wondered at if the blacks took 
revenge when they could ? 

But otherwise the settlers showed great energy, and 
entered with determination upon the work of opening 
up their immense territory. Captain Sturt, who had 



discovered the Darling and the Murray, offered to 
conduct an expedition into the centre of Australia ; 
and in 1844 a well-equipped party of sixteen persons 
started from the banks of the Darling, at the furthest 
point that had been reached in 1828. Following the 
course of the river they passed Laidley's Ponds and 
Lake Cawndilla, and then turned northwards for the 
interior, through a barren desert, until they reached 
a few hills which are now known as the Barrier 
Range. Fortunately for the party it was the winter 
season, and they could obtain a moderate supply 
of water, but by the time they had passed another 
chain of hills, which Sturt called the Grey Range, 
summer had come. The heat in 1844 was ex- 
ceptionally intense, and in the sandy plains of the 
interior it was so great that the baked earth split 
the hoofs of the horses and quickly dried up the 
water from the creeks. One party found a stream, 
however, flowing in a rocky basin, and Sturt formed 
his depot beside it, remaining there for six months. 
Several excursions were made during this period, 
and the creek on which they were camped was 
followed, but after a course of twenty miles it was 
lost in the sand. The wanderers suffered terribly 
from the heat, which was sometimes as high as 130° 
in the shade. The ink dried on their pens before 
they could touch the paper to write. Their combs 
split, their nails became brittle, and metal if touched 
burned their fingers. A hole was dug in the ground 
sufficiently deep to enable them to escape the dread- 
ful glow of the sun, and day after day they prayed 
for rain. At last the party grew haggard and ill, and 


one being attacked with scurvy rapidly sank and 
died. But finally rain came, and as there was now 
plenty of water, the journey was continued. 

After travelling northwards sixty-one miles a new 
depot was formed, and excursions were made into 
the surrounding country. But as they journeyed 
further north they came to a region of hills of a 
barren red sand, and lagoons of salt bitter water. 
For some time they toiled through this country, but 
when at length they reached the last hill and nothing 
was to be seen but a vast stoney plain, which Sturt 
called the Stoney Desert, summer was again at hand 
and water was failing. So they hastened back ; but 
their water was exhausted before they reached the 
depot, and they were then in danger of being buried 
by shifting sand hills. Sturt made one more attempt 
to find water, discovering a magnificent stream which 
he called Cooper's Creek. But on again entering 
Stoney Desert, he was compelled to retrace his steps, 
and when he reached the depot on his return he was 
worn to a shadow and the glare of the sandy waste 
had blinded him. His reports on the arid country 
gave rise to the idea that the whole centre of 
Australia was one vast desert, but this has since 
been proved to be an error. 

All the north-east portion of the continent was left 
unexplored till 1844, when a young German botanist, 
Ludwig Leichardt, with five men, left Sydney, and, 
passing through magnificent forests and fine pastures, 
made his way to the Gulf of Carpentaria, dis- 
covering and tracing many large rivers as he went. 
At Van Diemen's Gulf a ship was waiting to bring 


him home ; and on his return to Sydney he was 
rewarded by a pubHc subscription of ;^ 1,500, and a 
grant from the Government of ;^i,ooo. In 1847 he 
again started to make further explorations in the 
north of Queensland, taking with him sheep and 
goats, which, however, so impeded his progress that, 
after wandering over the Fitzroy Downs for many 
months, he returned without having achieved any- 
thing. In the following year he led a third expedi- 
tion, with which he intended to cross the whole 
continent from east to west. A start was made from 
Moreton Bay, and in two years he expected to reach 
the Swan River settlement. A large party set out, 
and soon passed the Cogwoon River, and from this 
point Leichardt sent a hopeful letter to a friend in 
Sydney. But no news has since been received of 
him or his companions, although for many years 
expeditions were sent out to search for him. 

On Leichardt's return from his first journey. Sir 
Thomas Mitchell set out northwards, and after dis- 
covering the Culgoa and Warrego, turned west, 
travelling over a great extent of level country. At 
length he came upon a river, and followed the current 
for 150 miles towards the heart of the continent, 
and then returned. Edmund Kennedy, who was 
soon after sent to trace the course of the newly- 
found stream, followed its banks for 150 miles 
below the place at which Mitchell had turned back. 
He, too, was then forced to return, through want of 
provisions. He had seen enough, however, to con- 
vince him that this stream was only the upper part 
of Cooper's Creek, which had been discovered by 


Sturt. In 1848, Kennedy landed on the north-east 
coast with twelve men, and turning inland to the 
north-west, travelled towards Cape York, where a 
vessel was to meet him. Dense jungles and prickly 
shrubs barred his path, and tore the flesh of the 
travellers at every step, while vast swamps often 
made long detours necessary. Leaving eight of his 
companions at Weymouth Bay, he pushed on to- 
wards the north with three others and a black boy, 
Jackey. But one of them accidentally shot himself, 
and was unable to proceed. Kennedy, who was now 
only a few miles from Cape York, left the wounded 
man with the two other whites, and started, accom- 
panied by Jackey, to obtain aid from the schooner. 
Before they had gone far, however, a tribe of natives 
attacked them, and a spear hurled from among the 
bushes pierced Kennedy in the back, and he fell from 
his horse. The blacks rushed forward, but Jackey 
fired upon them, and at the report for a moment they 
were frightened and fled. Kennedy soon died, and 
the faithful Jackey dug a grave and left him in the 
forest. Then with the journals and other papers he 
plunged into a stream, and walking along its bed 
with only his head above the surface, in this way 
escaped his enemies. As soon as he reached the 
Cape, and was taken on board the schooner, a search 
party was despatched for the wounded man and his 
companions, but it proved fruitless, while only two of 
the eight who had stayed at Weymouth Bay had 
survived starvation and disease, when relief arrived. 




Queensland was almost as hasty as Victoria in 
its demand for separation from the parent colony, 
and in 185 1 a petition was forwarded to the Queen, 
praying for the same concession for the Moreton 
Bay district as had in that year been granted to Port 
Phillip. The petitioners were unsuccessful, but three 
years later they renewed their appeal, and met with 
a favourable reception. As a result, in 1855 an Act 
was passed by the Imperial Parliament giving the 
Government power to make a division of New South 
Wales, so as to form a new colony, when such a 
course was deemed advisable. But delays occurred, 
and in the following year the ministry went out of 
office, so that the matter received no attention for some 
time. At the close of 1859, however, the desired 
change was made, and the portion of New South 
Wales to the north of the 29th parallel of latitude 
was proclaimed a separate colony, under the name 
of Queensland. Sir George Bowen was appointed the 
first Governor, and the town of Brisbane, which ther) 


contained about seven thousand inhabitants, was 
chosen as the capital and seat of government. The 
new colony covered more than 670,000 square miles 
of country, but its inhabitants numbered only about 
twenty-five thousand persons. 

Queensland was never as a separate colony under 
the nominee system of government, but commenced 
its career under the guidance of responsible ministers. 
The first Parliament opened on the 29th of May, i860, 
the Legislative Council, which consisted of members 
nominated by the Governor for life, and the Assembly 
being elected by the people under what is practically 
manhood suffrage, the only qualification being six 
months' residence. Any person on the electoral roll 
is qualified to be a member. The duration of Parlia- 
ments is nov/ limited to three years, and members of 
the Assembly receive a salary of ;^300 per annum. 

In 1858 a rush took place to the banks of the 
Fitzroy River, in the far north, where gold was 
said to have been found. Ship after ship arrived in 
Kepple Bay, crowded with men bound for Canoona, 
a place about seventy miles up the river. Before 
long some fifteen thousand had collected, but it was 
found that the gold was to be met with over a 
very small area only, and many of those who had 
come to the place, having spent all their money on 
their outfit and passage, were unable to get away. 
Amongst the crowd thus gathered in this isolated 
spot, far from civilisation, terrible distress soon began 
to show itself, and for sometime the Fitzroy River 
was the scene of wretchedness and starvation. At 
length the Governments of New South Wales and 


Victoria took pity on the unfortunate miners, and 
provided means of transport for the destitute who 
wished to leave the place. Some, however, at the 
time of greatest scarcity, had taken up portions of 
the fertile land on the banks of the river, and com- 
menced farming. From these beginnings sprang 
what is now the thriving town of Rockhampton. 
The Government of Queensland was anxious to 
attract some of the immigrants who were coming 
in large numbers to Australia, and offered rewards, 
ranging from ^200 to ;^ 1,000, to the discoverers of 
profitable gold-fields. A great impetus was thus 
given to prospecting, and during the following 
years many districts were opened up by parties of 

In 1867 a man named Nash, by accident, found 
extensive gold deposits at Gympie, a place about 
130 miles from Brisbane. Nash kept his dis- 
coveries secret, and commenced to collect gold for 
himself before giving publicity to the news. He 
soon procured several hundred pounds' worth of the 
metal, and then, as it seemed impossible to avoid dis- 
covery (as a road ran close to the spot at which he 
was at work), and as it was not improbable that some 
one else would forestall him in reporting the field, 
he came down to Maryborough, and announcing his 
valuable find, received the Government reward. A 
rush to Gympie immediately took place, and the field 
proved to be exceedingly rich ; a nugget, worth 
about ;^4,ooo, was found close to the surface. 
Other gold-fields have also been discovered from time 
to time. Far to the north, on the Palmer River, 


rich deposits have been found ; and, in spite of the 
hostihty of natives and the tropical heat, great 
numbers of miners are at work, including thousands 
of Chinamen. 

But the fields already described are insignificant, 
when compared with the enormous yield of the 
Mount Morgan mine, which has already paid 
;^2,75o,ooo in dividends. It is a huge mound of ore, 
which is highly ferruginous, and contains gold to the 
extent of several ounces to the ton, its peculiar 
formation, in the opinion of the Government geologist 
of Queensland, being due to the action of the thermal 
springs. The story of its discovery is peculiar. It 
is situated near Rockhampton, in the very district to 
which the diggers had rushed with such ill-luck in 
1858. A young squatter had bought a selection 
of 640 acres from the Government, but it was on a 
rocky hill, and he found that for grazing or cultiva- 
tion it was useless. Accordingly, when the offer was 
made of ^^^640 by three brothers named Morgan, he 
gladly closed the bargain ; but soon after the tran- 
saction the fortunate purchasers found that the dirty 
grey rocks, of which the whole was composed, con- 
tained so much gold that ;£"20 or £t,o worth of it 
could be extracted with rude appliances from every 
cartload of stuff. Work was immediately commenced, 
and before long Mount Morgan turned out to be the 
richest gold mine in the world. A year or two later 
the hill which had cost £640 was sold for p{J"8, 000,000. 
It is now calculated that it is worth at least double 
that sum, and the shares of the company which pos- 
sess it have reached a figure equivalent to .^18,000,000. 


But gold-mining is not the only industry which has 
been followed in Queensland. In the northern dis- 
tricts tropical products are successfully grown, and 
about 1 861 the cultivation of cotton was commenced. 
No very great progress was made for the first three 
years, but when the American war cut off that 
source of supply, the enhanced price of both 
cotton and sugar (the cultivation of which was 
commenced in 1865) more than compensated for 
the comparatively higher cost of white labour in 
the Queensland plantations. As long as the price 
of cotton and sugar remained high, the question 
of labour on the plantations was not of such impor- 
tance as to seriously interfere with the industries. 
But when, on the close of the war, these articles 
fell to their normal level, the American product 
again coming into competition, and the planters of 
Queensland finding it necessary to effect some radical 
change in the management of their estates, it was 
proposed to substitute the cheap labour of coolies 
from India for the more expensive Europeans ; but 
there were difficulties in the way, and eventually 
Chinese were introduced. They did not come up 
to expectations, and planters were at their wits' end. 
At length a sugar planter named Towns conceived 
the idea of bringing labourers from the South Sea 
Islands, and as he was also the owner of ships 
which traded to the islands, he had no difficulty in 
putting the scheme into practice. The Kanakas (as 
the islanders were called) were apt pupils, and soon 
became expert plantation hands. They also met all 
requirements as to cheapness, for a. few presents 


of finery seemed to satisfy them for years of 

Towns' example was speedily followed by his 
neighbours, and the practice of employing Kanakas on 
the plantations instead of white men became general. 
The islanders as a rule made engagements for one or 
two years' service, and then having received in pay- 
ment, cloth, knives, hatchets, beads, &c., to the value 
of about £10, were sent back to the islands. A 
system such as this of necessity bred abuses, and 
unscrupulous masters resorted to all sorts of tricks to 
swindle the Kanakas out of their pay. Again, as 
the demand for island labour increased, the supply 
of volunteers was unequal to the requirements of 
planters, and captains of vessels took to wholesale 
kidnapping, and to all intents and purposes sold 
their captives in Queensland to the plantation owners 
for so much a head. There were consequently fre- 
quent conflicts between the crews of labour vessels 
and the inhabitants of the islands. The white men 
would suddenly appear at the native villages and 
take as prisoners crowds of men and women ; in 
revenge the natives, whenever they got a chance, 
attacked the vessels visiting the islands and murdered 
all they found on board. All sorts of devices for 
getting near the natives were tried by the kidnap- 
pers. Sometimes they disguised themselves as 
missionaries, and then when an opportunity occurred, 
on account of the trust inspired by their appearance, 
they fell upon their victims, and hurried them off to 
the ships. As a result, if real missionaries, sus- 
pecting nothing, approached the islanders, they were 


frequently speared or clubbed to death, without dis- 

The conflict in most cases was, however, onesided. 
Labour vessels cut down the frail canoes, and while 
the occupants were struggling in the water they were 
secured, dragged aboard, and thrust into the hold. 
The hatches were battened down, and when enough 
of the poor wretches had been crammed into the ship, 
sail was set, and but little attention was paid to the 
passengers, who if they survived the terrible passage 
in the iilthy and confined holds were sold to the 
planters or their agents. It must not be supposed 
that all the planters engaged in the labour traffic 
behaved like ruffians, but nevertheless such deeds as 
those described were of common occurrence. At 
length these scandals so aroused popular feeling that 
in 1868, the Queensland Legislature passed an Act to 
regulate the island labour traffic. The Polynesian 
Labourers Act provided that no islanders were to be 
shipped to the colony unless the captain of the vessel 
could produce a document, signed by some respon- 
sible person, to the effect that those whom he brought 
had shipped without compulsion. At the same time 
special Government agents were appointed to ac- 
company every vessel engaged in the trade, and to 
exercise a general supervision over the islanders on 
the voyage. The minimum payment to Kanakas on 
the termination of their service was fixed at £6 worth 
of goods for each year's work, and other minor 
provisions were also enacted for the general regula- 
tion of the trade. 

These rules were right enough as far as they went, 


but the whole system was such that it was impossible 
to make a law which could not be in one way or 
another evaded. Without doubt the new Act effected 
much good, and the island traffic lost many of its 
most objectionable characteristics. But frequently 
the clauses which made it necessary for a document 
to be produced showing that the Kanakas were volun- 
tary immigrants were little but a dead letter. Nothing 
was easier than to bribe the chief of any tribe by a 
present of a few trinkets, to compel a certain number 
of his people to go before a missionary and express 
their desire to ship to Queensland, although really 
they may have been most averse to the proposal. 
Again, while the Government agent was put to watch 
the captain, and the captain was only too happy to 
watch the agent, there was always the danger of 
collusion, and cases have been brought to light in 
which the deeds of the crews of labour vessels have 
been a blot on our civilisation. There is evidence, 
however, that now the abuses have been reduced 
to a minimum ; one of the best signs of the great 
improvement which has been effected is that islanders 
who have served a term in Queensland very often 
re-engage when the opportunity offers, and bring with 
them their friends and relations. The whole traffic 
is nevertheless undesirable, and it is almost impos- 
sible, even with the best intentions, for the Govern- 
ment to ensure that only volunteers are brought to 
the colony, and — what is more important — that 
expirees are sent back to their proper destinations. 
It has frequently been asserted that Kanakas have 
been landed at the wrong islands to save trouble. 


and this practically means handing them over to be 
murdered by hostile tribes. The whole question is 
surrounded with difficulties, and the proposal to re- 
introduce the system, after a temporary suspension, 
is at present calling forth an animated controversy 
between its friends and its opponents. In all branches 
of material development Queensland has made rapid 
progress, and under liberal land laws and state- 
assisted immigration the population has rapidly 
increased. An agitation has for some been on foot 
in favour of a subdivision of the huge territory, for 
it is hoped that in this way the friction may be 
avoided which the very conflicting interests of the 
North and South must under existing arrangements 
inevitably produce. 

Like most of the other colonies, Queensland became 
intoxicated with its own prosperity, and plunged 
headlong into extravagance in its public expenditure, 
but, although this course has been followed by the 
usual reaction, the natural resources of the country 
are so enormous that the depression is unlikely to 
be of long duration or to seriously dim the brilliant 
promise of the future. 



(1 79 1- 1846.) 

Long before any systematic attempt was made to 
colonise New Zealand there had been intercourse 
between the Maori population and the whaling ships, 
which visited the coast in large numbers. As might 
have been expected, thesfe meetings often led to mis- 
understandings, and the cruelty and immorality of 
the sailors was fully counterbalanced by the acts of 
revenge perpetrated by the natives, in accordance 
with their ancient customs. Occasionally large 
numbers of passengers and seamen fell victims to 
the misbehaviour of earlier visitors. Thus, in 1809, 
a ship called the Boyd, on her voyage to England, 
touched at Whangarua, in order to obtain spars, and, 
while the captain and many of the crew were ashore, 
the Maoris made a descent upon them, and having 
killed and eaten all who were to be found, attacked 
the ship, leaving only'one woman and three children 


THE ''boyd" massacre. 353 

to tell the tale. The survivors, who had hidden 
themselves when they saw the Maoris coming, were 
eventually rescued by the crew of the Ci(y of Edin- 
burgh, aided by a friendly native named Te Pahi. 
Several events of a somewhat similar character 
attracted the attention of Australians and English- 
men to the barbarous islanders, and the Rev. Samuel 
Marsden, the chaplain in New South Wales, urged 
the establishment of a mission station at the Bay of 
Islands, which had been the seat of most of the out- 
rages, in the hope that the missionaries might be able 
to improve the relations between the two races. His 
suggestion was carried out, and a small settlement 
formed, while at the same time one European and 
three chiefs of the native tribes were appointed magis- 
trates for the district, and were instructed to use their 
utmost efforts to diminish the continually recurring 
collisions. In spite of these precautions, murders and 
other atrocities continued. Every vessel that cruised 
in New Zealand waters had boarding nets, and, 
should any mishap drive a luckless ship upon the 
coast, the probable fate of all on board was only too 
well understood. In 1816 two ships were wrecked 
and their crews killed and eaten. In 1823 the 
Imperial Parliament at last realised that it was 
necessary to take some steps to mitigate these evils, 
and, in order to control at any rate the European 
settlers and visitors, the jurisdiction of the Supreme 
Court of New South Wales was extended to residents 
in New Zealand. 

Much of the trouble which had arisen and sub- 
sequently occurred between the two races was 




due to the ignorance and want of appreciation of 
the Maoris and their customs shown by the 
Europeans. As a race the natives were vastly 
superior intellectually to any savages with whom 
Englishmen had previously been in contact in the 
Southern hemisphere. Guided largely by tribal 
traditions and native customs, their actions were often 
inexplicable to the v/hite strangers, and as a result 


there were many collisions which a better acquaint- 
ance on either side would have prevented. For 
instance, it was a gross offence to touch any article 
which was fapu, that is, which for some reason had 
been placed under a ban, or which had been declared 
sacred from the touch or eye. Constant and un- 
conscious breaches of the Maori law were made by 
strangers, and indeed it was only by great care that 
they could be avoided. Any flagrant digression 


demanded tiiu, or atonement, which was only pro- 
curable too frequently by the death of the offender. 

Hence many barbarous and incomprehensible acts 
of apparently inhuman revenge, for trivial matters, 
were perpetrated, which in reality were instigated by 
native customs that the Maoris felt constrained to 
blindly obey. 

One of the survivors of the crew of a brig which 
was seized on the east coast in 1816 was killed for 
lending a knife to a slave and afterwards breaking 
the tapi which this had caused, by using the 
same knife to cut food for a chief's mother. The 
latter happened to die, and when the facts were made 
know the tohunga (priest) had no doubt that the 
breach of the tapu was the cause of her decease. A 
council of the tribe was held, and the poor fellow was 
sentenced to death, though the chief, who liked him 
very much, did his best to save him. The tohunga 
in an eloquent address, pointed out to the chief that 
the gods would never be appeased if utu were not 
exacted for breach of the tapu, and that the lot of his 
friend was not really hard, for it would be an honour 
to him to attend in the next world on so great a 
chieftainess as the chief's dead mother, and to the 
latter to have such an attendant. The chief's family 
pride and filial affection were in this way successfully 
appealed to, and the fate of the poor wTetch was 

This case serves to show much of the Maori 
character. Superstitious and sensitive to a degree, 
they have shown themselves nevertheless fearless and 
in the main honourable as a race. With few excep- 


tions they jDroved as foes to be worthy of the highest 
admiration, while as alHes they were warm and true 
friends. Possessed of great intelligence and adapta- 
bility, they lost no time in turning to account the 
lessons in civilisation which were to be learnt from 
their white visitors. Hongi and Waikato, the former, 
perhaps, the greatest of their chiefs, having been taken 
to England by one of the missionaries as early as 
1820, were made much of, and loaded v/ith handsome 
gifts ; but before their return to New Zealand they 
converted all the presents which had been showered 
upon them into muskets, and at once on landing in 
their native country started on the war-path against 
neighbouring tribes, with the result that their enemies 
fell easy victims to their superior weapons. 

The extreme fertility of the islands had in 1825 
inspired persons in England with a desire to colonise 
them, and towards the close of 1826 a vessel carry- 
ing sixty settlers arrived under the command of 
Captain Herd, who purchased two islands in the 
Hauraki Gulf But fears of the attacks of the natives 
discouraged the immigrants, and many of them left 
the country at the first opportunity. Their appre- 
hensions were not groundless, for in the following 
year Hongi turned his newly acquired weapons 
against those from whom they had been obtained, 
and destroyed the mission station at Whangaroa. A 
sort of guerilla warfare had long existed, but matters 
now reached such a stage that peaceful occupation of 
the country became impossible. There were faults 
on both sides, and in 1831 thirteen chiefs appealed 
to the English Government for protection from the 


traders and settlers, while at the same time the 
Governor of New South Wales — under whose nominal 
protection New Zealand at that time was — suggested 
that it would be desirable that a Government 
resident should be appointed without delay to look 
after the affairs both of white men and Maoris, and 
maintain some semblance of authority. Accordingly, 
two years later, Mr. James Busby was appointed 
Resident at the Bay of Islands, and shortly after- 
wards Lieutenant McDonell, R.N., was sent in a 
similar capacity to the settlement at Hokianga. 

As yet the Imperial Government had not formally 
annexed the islands, although Cook had hoisted 
the British flag when he visited the country in 1770, 
and an enterprising" foreigner, known as Baron 
Hyppolitus de Thierry, issued a declaration in 1835 
from the Marquesas Islands, one of which (Nu- 
huneva) he had purchased, asserting that he was 
" Sovereign Chief of New Zealand and King of 
Nuhuneva." On receipt of this rather remarkable 
news, Mr. Busby at once issued a counter address, in 
which he directed the attention of the native chiefs to 
this bold attempt to seize their country, and urged 
them to offer a combined front to the usurper. A 
meeting of all the principal chiefs was hastily con- 
vened, and a declaration announcing the independence 
of the Maoris, under the title of the " United Tribes 
of New Zealand," was issued. A copy of this procla- 
mation was forwarded to the Secretary of State, who 
in answer announced that England would always 
guard New Zealand from foreign aggression. 

But here the responsibility of England ceased, and 


although anarchy still in a large measure prevailed in 
New Zealand, no attempt was made to establish any 
settled form of government. In spite of their readi- 
ness to combine with Mr. Busby in protesting against 
the claims of Baron de Thierry, the natives continued 
to show hostility to the European missionaries and 
traders ; and at last, in 1837, the Governor of New 
South Wales despatched Captain Hobson in the 
Rattlesnake to the Bay of Islands to examine into the 
lawless occurrences which were alarmingly frequent 
at Kororareka, the main settlement. At this sjjot a 
considerable village had arisen, and there were already 
about a thousand white inhabitants, while the bay was 
crowded with whalers of all nationalities. Captain 
Hobson fully confirmed the reports of the unsatis- 
factory position of affairs, but remedial action was 
still delayed, until in 1838 the inhabitants of Korora- 
reka could wait no longer, and determined to take 
the law into their own hands, and form a sort of 
vigilance association for the punishment of crime and 
the protection of life and property. This brought 
matters to a crisis, for the Imperial Government saw 
that the time had come when it must either take some 
steps to create a proper administrative authority, or 
must entirely abandon all pretence of protecting or 
managing the settlement. 

But further difficulties were ahead. Schemes for 
colonisation were about this time extraordinarily 
popular, and a company known as the New Zealand 
Company, which afterwards became a great factor in 
the affairs of the colony, was formed in London by 
Lord Durham to undertake the systematic settlement 


of the unclaimed territory. Final arrangements were 
completed by 1839, and the Tory with Colonel 
William Wakefield and other officers of the New 
Zealand Company on board, sailed from London, 
after a quick passage reached its destination and 
brought up in Queen Charlotte's Sound. The situa- 
tion did not seem suitable, so weighing anchor the 
pioneers sailed round to Port Nicholson, where Wake- 
field took possession of the country in the name of 
the company, a royal salute was fired, and the New 
Zealand flag hoisted to commemorate the event. The 
natives apparently welcomed the new-comers, and all 
joined in a feast at which the utmost goodwill pre- 
vailed. Colonel Wakefield, ignorant of Maori customs, 
and particularly of their laws relating to the possession 
of the land, at once proceeded to acquire large tracts 
of country in the name of the company, for the use 
of intending settlers. Sailing along the coast, he 
speedily procured an area of about twenty million 
acres extending on the west to Taranaki, and along 
the east coast to Hawke's Bay, at the same time he 
bought from a chief named Rauparaha the valley 
of the Wairau in the south island. 

In these transactions was laid the foundation of 
much future trouble. In the honest belief that the 
land belonged to the chiefs and others who treated 
with him, Wakefield had paid the price agreed upon, 
but he was unaware of the fact that each tribe had 
its own traditional boundaries, that the customs with 
regard to ownership were most intricate, and that the 
natives regarded the possession of the soil as of the 
highest importance. Few Europeans at that time 


and for many years afterwards understood the posi- 
tion. The land was held by the natives upon a com- 
munistic basis, and though there were rights of occu- 
pation belonging to individuals, the soil belonged to 
the tribes, and could not be parted with except upon 
the authority of the whole. The question of the 
acquisition of land was the cause of nearly all the 
subsequent difficulties with the Maoris, and their 
tribal customs on the subject were most difficult to 

Shortly after the despatch of the Torj/, four other 
ships followed with a large number of intending 
settlers. By the following year no less than twelve 
hundred colonists had arrived at the port ; the 
town of Wellington was subsequently founded, and 
a second independent provisional government estab- 
lished. When news of the steps which had been 
taken by the New Zealand Company became public 
in London, there was great consternation at the 
Colonial Office, and it was at last realised that it 
would be impossible for the Government to elude any 
longer its responsibility with regard to the colony. 
Hastily letters-patent were prepared, extending the 
boundaries of New South Wales so as to include the 
two islands, and Captain Hobson was despatched to 
hoist the Union Jack and take charge of the settle- 
ment as Lieutenant-Governor. As soon as he had 
landed he issued a proclamation inviting both British 
subjects and native chiefs to meet him in conference 
at an early date, and when they had assembled he 
read his commission and two proclamations issued by 
the Governor of New South Wales, asserting the 


Queen's authority in the colony, and the illegality of 
any transactions in land which had not received the 
confirmation of the Government. Soon afterwards 
another meeting was arranged with the chiefs of the 
north island, at Waitangi, Mr. Busby's station, and a 
draft treaty was presented to the natives for signature, 
by which the sovereignty of New Zealand was ceded 
to Great Britain, while in return their proprietary 
interests in the soil were fully preserved, and all 
transfers of property to British subjects would have 
to be sanctioned by the Lieutenant-Governor. It was 
also arranged that the pre-emption of Maori lands — 
?>., the first right of purchase — should be vested in 
the Crown. The treaty was largely signed by those 
present ; and then in order to obtain the names of as 
many chiefs as possible in ratification, it was handed 
to missionaries and agents to be carried through the 
country and submitted to all who had not attended 
the meeting. The Lieutenant-Governor himself 
visited Hokianga and other places for the same pur- 
pose ; and on May 21st in the same year the 
sovereignty of the Queen was proclaimed over the 
islands, and Major Bunbury and Captain Nias, R.N,, 
hoisted the English flag at Cloudy Bay. 

The Secretary of State had been hastened in his 
action by fears of the intention of the French to 
seize New Zealand — fears which proved to be well 
founded, for in October, 1839, two ships, the Comte de 
Paris and the frigate VAitbe, had sailed for Akaroa, 
in the middle island, and rights had been granted to 
a colonisation company known as the Nanto-Borde- 
laise. Captain Stanley was hastily sent round to 


Akaroa to unfurl the English flag and take possession 
before the ships could reach the place, and he had 
only just accomplished his mission when the French- 
men hove in sight. 

During the next few years new settlements were 
founded all over the islands, more especially at 
Wanganui, New Plymouth, and Nelson, and in 1841 
New Zealand was proclaimed an independent colony, 
and Hobson was raised to the rank of Governor. He 
survived his promotion however but a short time, and 
Captain Fitzroy was appointed in his stead. Shortly 
before Fitzroy's arrival an affray occurred with the 
natives at Wairau, arising out of the purchase of 
land previously referred to. Some surveyors were 
engaged in laying out farms in the Wairau Valley 
when suddenly the chief Te Rauparaha, who claimed 
the land, protested against the progress of the work, 
and threatened violence should they attempt to pro- 
ceed. Colonel Wakefield, persuaded that the com- 
pany's claim was good, appealed to the authorities, 
and the police magistrate with a force of police, 
special constables, and others, made an attempt to 
arrest the chief The natives resisted, and the con- 
stables were put to rout, seventeen of the surveyors 
and police being massacred, although they offered to 
surrender unconditionally. Amongst those slain was 
Captain Arthur Wakefield, R.N., the leader of the 
Nelson settlement. 

A general panic ensued amongst all the inhabitants 
of the district. This sudden outbreak on the part of 
the Maoris had, moreover, a very serious effect on the 
prospects of the colony indirectly, for the tide of 


immigration which had been steadily increasing pre- 
vious to the occurrence, suddenly ceased, and no one 
could be induced to come to settle in a country where 
there was no security for life or property, and where 
at any moment they might be attacked by what they 
regarded as a barbarous race of savages. The public 
finances consequently fell into sore straits, and when 
the new Governor arrived in December, 1843, he 
found the treasury empty and already liabilities in- 
curred equal in amount to twelve months' probable 
revenue. But before anything could be done to 
alleviate the general distress, it was necessary to take 
some steps to reassure the settlers ; so the Governor 
visited Wellington and Nelson, where he made per- 
sonal inquiries into the Wairau conflict, and to con- 
ciliate the natives, issued a proclamation consenting 
not to enforce the pre-emptive right, granted to the 
Government by the treaty of Waitangi, to purchase 
lands in certain portions of the country. At the 
same time he sought to appease the settlers by 
issuing permission for private individuals to complete 
bargains with the natives on a minimum payment ot 
ten shillings an acre to the Crown ; and when this 
concession did not appear sufficient, a further reduc- 
tion to one penny per acre was made in the royalty 
demanded. Several transactions were completed on 
these terms, but as this was directly contrary to 
existing laws, the Imperial Government despatched a 
Special Commissioner, Mr. Spain, to inquire into the 
whole land question, and to open courts in the colony 
to decide claims and disputes with regard to land 


The success of the Wairau adventure roused the 
temper of the native tribes, and though they still, as 
a rule, outwardly appeared friendly, and contented 
with the treaty of Waitangi, their respect for the 
power of the white man had vanished, and there were 
evidences that it required very little to cause a repeti- 
tion of the outbreak. Before long the unsettled feel- 
ing culminated in the north in open war. Hone 
Heke — a son-in-law of the great chief Hongi, who 
was now dead — had become impressed with the sig- 
nificance of the flagstaff and standard at Kororareka, 
as an emblem of the authority of the foreigner, and 
was urgent in his efforts to stir up his followers and 
allies to destroy the token, which he assured them 
would in its downfall carry with it the supremacy of 
the invader. Having collected a small force, he 
came down to Kororareka, and after waiting a couple 
of days in the neighbourhood, stole up to the flag- 
staff and cut it down. The matter was at first looked 
upon rather as a freak than a direct menace ; but the 
Governor, without delay, sought reinforcements from 
New South Wales, and a small detachment was sent 
from Auckland to strengthen the garrison at the 
scene of the disturbance. Again the flagstaff was 
erected, and this time guarded day and night by 

But Hone Heke was determined not to be deterred, 
and coming suddenly upon the guard with two 
hundred warriors, he defeated the soldiers, and in 
triumph carried off the flag. Further reinforcements 
were at once sent up, as the position appeared to be 
becoming serious. The Governor himself visited the 


district, and endeavoured to explain to the natives 
that the intention of the Imperial Government was 
entirely peaceful ; but nevertheless, as a sign of his 
displeasure at their action, he demanded the sur- 
render of their weapons. A few complied, but Hone 
Heke scorned to take any part in the proceedings 
and made no secret of the fact that he would continue 
his hostility, and would never rest as long as the 
obnoxious flag waved in the breeze. While these 
events were occurring, a war-party visited Wanganui 
and made hostile demonstrations, and a warship was 
ordered round to overawe the natives. 

The Governor meantime having done all he could, 
retired from Kororareka to Auckland, but no sooner 
was his back turned than Hone Heke again set to 
work to accomplish the downfall of the flagstaff. He 
sent a message to the officer in command that on a 
particular night he would at once proceed to the hill 
and repeat his outrage to the symbol of British 
authority. But the warning was disregarded and 
made light of, and although the ordinary watch was 
kept, no special preparations were made to meet 
a sudden attack. When, therefore, in the dead of 
night. Hone Heke's natives once more climbed the 
hill, no effective resistance could be offered, and the 
obnoxious flagstaff fell under the warrior's axe. But 
on this occasion Hone Heke did not confine his 
attack to the flagstaff. The efforts of the guard to 
defend their charge was met by a furious onslaught, 
and the whole of the garrison having been utterly 
routed by the Maoris, the victors descended upon the 
town, which was set on fire. The greatest confusion 


followed ; but the natives offered every assistance to 
the settlers in saving their property from the burning 
buildings, after which the colonists retreated to the 
ships in the harbour. 

Application had been made by the Governor for 
reinforcements from Sydney, and as the vessels from 
Kororareka entered Auckland harbour, it was believed 
that they were the looked-for troops. The result, 
when the truth became known, was a panic amongst 
the residents, who believed that Heke would at once 
march on the capital. But Waka Hene, with a 
friendly band of natives kept the insurgents in check, 
and shortly afterwards the expected reinforcements 
arrived. The Governor determined to prosecute at 
once a campaign against Heke, and the necessary 
forces were despatched to the Bay of Islands. After 
several small skirmishes Heke's strongly fortified /c^/5 
at Ohaewai, was evacuated, and he and his followers 
fled. This ended Heke's war for the time being, and 
the Governor was able to turn his attention to the 
south, which was now the scene of great unrest. 

The natives had welcomed the new settlers at Port 
Nicholson ; but, as soon as the latter proceeded to 
take possession of the land purchased by Colonel 
Wakefield, trouble arose, and in many cases the 
Maoris refused to give up possession. The attitude 
of the natives was indeed such that the settlers were 
prepared for almost any emergency, and took every 
possible precaution against an outbreak. What had 
originally been a peaceful agricultural settlement was 
now surrounded by earthworks, while the settlers 
were drilled and formed into militia. But the 



Governor feared that these preparations might have 
an irritating effect upon the natives and forbade the 
assembling of settlers in large bodies, except under 
the direction of some responsible Government officer. 
This step, combined with the general state of appre- 
hension and financial stringency, caused great dis- 
content, and Fitzroy speedily became unpopular. A 
petition was sent to the Imperial Government by the 
Port Nicholson settlers, praying for his recall, and the 
Secretary of State for the Colonies, being impressed 
with the necessity for a change, despatched Captain 
George Grey, who has already been mentioned in 
connection with South Australia, as his successor. 


EVENTS FROM 1 846 TO 1 86 1. 

The outlook when Grey arrived was not promising, 
but he immediately applied himself with character- 
istic energy to the task of bringing order out of 
confusion. He informed the Secretary of State of 
his intention to keep on friendly terms with the 
principal chiefs, who would, where possible, be pen- 
sioned and made magistrates in their own districts. 
He had about six hundred and fifty soldiers at his 
disposal and authority to draw on the Imperial 
treasury if necessary, so that he was able to speedily 
bring about an improvement in the colony's affairs. 
Direct purchase of lands from the Maoris by private 
individuals was stopped, and sixty natives were 
enrolled under European officers as a police force. 
The friendly tribes under Waka Hene were granted 
rations, and the Executive Council passed an 
ordinance prohibiting the sale of firearms to natives. 
This measure having been adopted, Grey issued a 
proclamation to the natives to the effect that all who 
failed, when it was in their power, to render active aid 
to the Government, would be regarded as enemies, 
and that neutrality would be construed as hostility. 

25 369 

370 EVENTS FROM 1846 TO 1861. 

A few days later active operations against Heke, 
and another chief Kawiti (who had joined him), were 
commenced, with a force of nearly twelve hundred 
men, including artillery. Heke was at Kaikohe and 
Kawiti held a strong />a/i, known as Ruapekapeka, 
which it was necessary to capture at all hazards as it 
was of strategical importance. Some friendly tribes, 
therefore, kept Heke in check while operations were 
directed against Kawiti, and, after several unsuccess- 
ful attempts, one Sunday morning while the natives 
within Ruapekapeka were engaged in worship, the 
soldiers made an attack, and after three hours' 
desperate fighting carried the fortifications. There 
were serious losses on both sides, but Heke, who had 
arrived just prior to the attack with sixty men, 
escaped. The engagement, however, was decisive, 
and he and his followers were scattered far and wide. 
A garrison of two hundred soldiers was left at the 
Bay of Islands, and Grey with the remainder of his 
force returned to Auckland. This ended Heke's war, 
which was the only serious trouble with the powerful 
tribes north of Auckland ; as the terms of peace 
were generous Heke settled at Kaikohe, and after- 
wards proved himself a warm friend of the Euro- 

Hardly had Grey arrived in Auckland when news 
was received of fresh disturbances, this time with the 
natives of the Hutt Valley. He at once hastened 
south with five hundred soldiers in the hope that the 
disorder might be nipped in the bud by a display of 
force. The soldiers were therefore promptly marched 
up the valley ; but the rebels under Rangihaeta, on 


the approach of the troops, retreated to an inaccessible 
pa/i, where it was useless to attack them. Grey with- 
drew ; but a strong garrison remained to guard the 
settlers. The natives quietly awaited a favourable 
opportunity for attack, and shortly surprised and 
routed some fifty soldiers who were stationed under 
Lieutenant Page at a farm in the valley. Em- 
boldened by their success, a month later they fell 
upon a detachment of the 99th Regiment which was 
reconnoitring their position, and then began a series 
of murders. A general panic spread amongst the 
colonists in the Wellington district, and some fled 
to the town while others erected stockades and 
fortified their dwellings. Meanwhile Rangihaeta 
never gave the troops a chance of a decisive engage- 
ment, and always fell back when they appeared in 

Amongst the friendly natives was the chief Raupa- 
raha, previously referred to, who was ostensibly a 
warm ally of the Europeans ; but Grey had reason to 
believe that he and other chiefs were secretly aiding 
the insurgents, and so captured him and his com- 
panions in perfidy at Porirua and detained them as 
prisoners on H.M.S. Calliope. This, as was expected, 
had a disheartening effect on Rangihaeta, who left 
\{\?, pah at Pahautanui and moved to the head of the 
Horokiwi Valley, a position from which he was easily 
dislodged. Pursued from place to place, his band 
was finally dispersed, and the campaign brought to a 

Grey was now able to devote his attention to 
matters of internal reform. In almost every depart- 

372 EVENTS FROM 1846 TO 1861. 

ment of Government, affairs were in great disorder, ir 
fact one of the first steps necessary was the repudiation 
of many of the acts of his predecessor. He declared 
void any land purchases in which he considered the 
natives had been unfairly treated, and decided also 
to cancel the Crown grants of several blocks issued 
by Fitzroy, in excess of 2,560 acres, the area prescribed 
by law as the maximum amount to be held by one 
grantee. Acts such as these necessarily brought him 
into collision with many of the settlers, and more 
particularly with the missionaries who had acquired 
extensive estates and were consequently the principal 
sufferers. In a despatch to the Colonial Office he 
expressed the opinion that the Imperial Government 
might rest assured that these individuals could not 
be put in possession of their land without a large 
expenditure of British blood and money, a statement 
which caused great excitement throughout the 
colony. The missionaries, who by this time had 
become a powerful class on account of their influence 
with the natives, were indignant. A long and bitter 
controversy followed ; but a test case, which was 
brought before the Supreme Court, resulted in a 
victory for the Crown, the grants in excess of the 
legal limit were declared void, and much of the land 
in the neighbourhood of Auckland consequently 
reverted to the State. 

Grey now became practically all powerful in the 
country, and his autocratic acts brought him into 
conflict with many of the most influential settlers. 
The colony was filled with discontent ; but under 
his rule New Zealand made rapid progress, and 


appeared to be in a condition of prosperity and 
peace. With the improved order of things, speedily 
came a rapid increase of population. But this happy 
state of affairs was not to last long and trouble was 
once more experienced with the natives. This time 
the seat of disturbance was the Wanganui district, 
where Mrs. Gilfillan and four of her children were 
murdered by the Maoris. The town of Wanganui 
was also attacked, but the natives were repulsed with 
little loss on the European side. Grey hastened to 
the scene. A few miles above the town six hundred 
natives had entrenched themselves ; but the tribes of 
the lower Wanganui readily came to his assistance 
and offered to march against the insurgents. The 
rebels retreated before the Government forces up the 
river, to a point beyond which it was not considered 
advisable to pursue them, and shortly afterwards they 
naively informed Colonel McCleverty, who was in 
command of the forces at Wanganui, that they could 
not face his artillery, and as there was no use in con- 
tinuing the war, they had decided to give it up. 

The threatened trouble thus passed, and Grey, 
with the intention of once for all settling the native 
difficulty, visited Taranaki, where he found the 
Maoris extortionate and insolent. He was firm, 
though reasonable, in his demands ; he informed 
them that he should take for the Queen all the land 
which he considered was not required for their use, 
and appoint a commission to fix the value. For the 
time being matters were smoothed over, but it was 
only for a time. Wiremi Kingi, a native chief of 
great influence, who had assisted to quell the dis- 


EVENTS FROM 1846 TO 1861. 

turbances in the Wellington district, claimed ances- 
tral rights to land at Waitara, in the Taranaki district, 
and though stating that it was not his desire to cause 
trouble, he expressed his intention of coming to settle 
upon it. Accordingly, in the following year he, with 
six hundred of his tribe, migrated to Waitara, a step 


which subsequently caused great trouble between the 
natives and the Government. At this time, however, 
nothing unpleasant resulted from his action, and 
Grey was enabled once more to turn his attention to 
matters of internal policy. 

A movement had commenced some time previously 

NEW ZEALAND Government Bill. 375 

in favour of responsible government, and, in 1846, 
as a result of the agitation, the New Zealand Govern- 
ment Bill was passed through the Imperial Parlia- 
ment. By this measure a Charter was issued 
dividing the colony into two provinces, and making 
provision for the establishment of representative 
institutions. These divisions were named New 
Ulster and New Munster; the former comprising 
almost the whole of the northern island, and the 
latter the country near Cook's Sti'aits, together with 
the middle and southern islands. Each province was 
to have a separate Executive Council, and a Lieu- 
tenant-Governor to command under the Governor-in- 
chief, while a General Legislative Council was to 
make laws for the whole colony. On the recom- 
mendation of Grey, the operation of the Act was 
suspended for five years, though, as the Charter was 
still in force, the General Council was called to- 
gether. It soon became evident that the new body 
and the Governor could not work in harmony, and 
after two years of stormy existence, the Council 
ceased to exist. There was of course much dis- 
appointment at the loss of autonomy, when it seemed 
so nearly in the grasp of the inhabitants, and the 
agitation was continued. 

The great improvement which was meantime 
talking place in the aspect of affairs in New Zealand 
had caused a revival of the schemes for colonisation, 
and during the next few j-ears numerous settlements 
were established by associations formed in the United 
Kingdom. Most of these enterprises had been con- 
templated sometime previously, but the trying ordeal 

376 EVENTS FROM 1846 TO 1861. 

through which the colony had passed had delayed 
their execution. At Otago 400,000 acres of land were 
purchased, under the auspices of the Free Church 
Association of Scotland; and in 1847 two ships, the 
Jo/m Wy cliff e and Philip Lang, dropped anchor at 
Port Chalmers. Most of the immigrants who arrived 
in these vessels were Scotch Presbyterians, and 
Captain William Cargill, of the 74th Regiment, was 
their leader. By their efforts the town of Dunedin 
was founded. The Church of England had its special 
colonisation scheme, and, with the Governor's sanction, 
obtained land in what is now the province of Canter- 
bury, and established the town of Christchurch. 
Colonies were also founded at Onehunga, Tauraki, 
and other places, under the direct supervision of the 
Governor, consisting entirely of military pensioners 
to the number of five hundred, with their wives and 

Grey used every effort to induce the settlers to 
make full use of the great natural resources of the 
colony. Phojnnium teiiax, the New Zealand flax, 
was extensively cultivated, while the changes made 
by the Governor in the price of Crown lands, whereby 
it was reduced from ;^i to los. or 5s. per acre, led to 
the establishment of small farms, more especially in 
the Wairarapa district. Commerce increased with 
great rapidity, and in 1853 the first steam merchant- 
man entered New Zealand waters. But this period 
of prosperity was interrupted by other and unlooked- 
for misfortunes. First a severe earthquake in the 
southern part of the north island frightened the 
inhabitants, and did considerable damage ; and then 


the gold discoveries in California led to an exodus of 
some of the best class of settlers, and caused for a 
time grave apprehension in the minds of those who 
had the colony's interests at heart. This efflux was 
increased when gold was found in New South Wales 
and Victoria, and so serious did the position appear 
to be, that a reward of ;^500 was offered to any one 
who should discover a payable gold-field within New 
Zealand territory. In 1852 the precious metal had 
been met with in small quantities at Coromandel, 
but no payable field was found till five years later. 

The great growth of the colony had in the interim 
made it undesirable that the old charter which had been 
granted to the New Zealand Company should continue. 
For some years there had been continuous conflict 
between the executive authority and the officers of 
the company, and at last it was determined by the 
Imperial Government to take over the whole of the 
interests of the company, and, in spite of Grey's 
opposition, the colony became responsible for a debt 
of i^268,000, to meet the cost of the transaction, 
which was made a special provision of the Constitu- 
tion Act. Never before had their relations with the 
natives appeared to wear so peaceful an aspect. 
Both Heke and Rauparaha had died, urging their 
followers to remain faithful to their compact with the 
Europeans, and on all hands the relations between 
the two races were most amicable. 

Meanwhile, the movement in favour of the estab- 
lishment of representative government had steadily 
advanced, and some progress towards the attainment 
of this end had been made by the granting of 

378 EVENTS FROM 1846 TO l86i. 

municipal or " borough " government ; the duties 
assigned to which were very large, and included not 
only the construction of local public works, and the 
control of the police, education, hospitals, and charit- 
able institutions, but the establishment of sessional 
courts of justice with limited jurisdiction, and the 
power to levy rates on real and personal property in 
order to obtain the requisite funds. Grey, who had 
assisted in the formation of this scheme, before long 
saw the necessity for carr5/ing it further, and in 1851 
recommended the Imperial Government to establish 
an entirely new constitution, to replace that granted 
previously under the suspended Act. 

In 1852 a Bill was passed, which contained several 
new principles, introduced by members of the House 
of Commons, who apparently had little knowledge of 
the circumstances of the colony. By its provisions 
the colony was divided into five provinces ; each 
province having its own superintendent and pro- 
vincial council. There was to be a General Legis- 
lature to deal with matters of common concern, 
consisting of a Legislative Council, composed of 
members nominated by the Crown for life, and a 
House of Representatives elected by the people for 
five years. The Provincial Councils were to be 
elected by the inhabitants, and were to consist of a 
minimum of nine members. In 1853 the new consti- 
tution was formally proclaimed, and Grey remained 
just long enough to see it introduced. After eight 
years' service in New Zealand he was transferred 
to Cape Colony, and his departure was made the 
occasion for a warm demonstration of esteem, particu- 


larly by the natives. Grey, in his long administration, 
made many enemies, but he certainly steered the 
colony through a most trying period. He had found 
it in the midst of native troubles, with an empty 
exchequer, and a general feeling of despondency 
pervading the settlers ; he left it in a state of perfect 
peace and prosperity. 

The reins of government during the initiation of 
the new representative system were by Grey's re- 
moval placed in the hands of the officer commanding 
the troops, Colonel Wynyard, who held office for 
about fifteen months. The elections were duly held, 
and Parliament met for the first time on May 24, 
1854. It was immediately seen that the new consti- 
tution was not to be received with perfect acclaim ; 
the chief objection being that the Act did not pro- 
vide that members of the Executive Council should be 
necessarily members of the Legislature. Consequently 
the existing council continued to hold office, but none 
of its members held a seat in either House, and there 
was thus no control over the ministry by Parliament, 
except by the refusal of supplies. The matter was a 
subject of stormy debate when Parliament met, but 
the acting Governor pointed out that, under the Con- 
stitution Act, he had no power to supersede the 
Executive Council, which was in existence before the 
Act had been passed ; but in order to satisfy the 
Legislature, he added to the executive three members 
of the House of Representatives. Their position, how- 
ever, on account of their entire want of power, became 
intolerable, and after seven weeks they resigned. 

At the end of three months nothing had been done 

380 EVENTS FROM 1846 TO 1861. 

by the new houses, and Wynyard decided to pro- 
rogue Parhament for a short time, with a promise to 
urge the Imperial Government to pass a Bill enab- 
ling the appointment of responsible ministers. With 
the message conveying this intimation to the house 
came another which it was believed contained the 
official notice of prorogation, but the first message 
having been read, the house was moved into com- 
mittee nominally to consider it, but really to prevent 
the immediate reading of the second. A hot debate 
ensued, and resolutions were passed denouncing any 
attempt to rule without the authority of Parlia- 
ment, and threatening all officers who should dare to 
disburse money without parliamentary sanction. The 
doors of the chamber were locked to prevent any one 
from entering with an open message of prorogation, 
and one member who was admitted, but was believed 
to hold a copy of the Gazette containing the proclama- 
tion, was assaulted and declared guilty of contempt. 
Eventually a permanent committee having been 
appointed to watch the proceedings of the Governor 
during the recess, Parliament was formally prorogued 
for a fortnight and in the interval four other members 
of the house were added to the Executive Council. 

When Parliament assembled again, Wynyard in- 
timated that it was proposed to make certain altera- 
tions in the Constitution Act, though no change was 
suggested in regard to the Executive Council. An 
amendment on the address in reply was carried by 
twenty-two votes to four declaring that the house 
had no confidence in a mixed executive of the kind 
of men in office, and the four new ministers after 


holding their seats three days resigned. Having thus 
protested, members set seriously to work, and before 
the commencement of the following session Wyn- 
yard had received authority to accept a responsible 
ministry, on condition that the old executive were 
granted pensions, to which they were entitled by 
Imperial regulations. After a short session, there- 
fore, Parliament was dissolved with a view to enab- 
ling the constituencies to express their views on the 
subject of the appointment of responsible ministers. 

Colonel Gore Browne was appointed Governor in 
1855 ; he had only been in New Zealand a very 
short time when trouble with the Taranaki natives 
once more arose. A number of the Taranaki Maoris 
had formed a league, binding themselves not to sell 
land to Europeans, and consequently quarrels between 
the two races became common. Things were further 
complicated by other natives who, being willing to 
dispose of their land, fell out with the league ; 
these coming into conflict, several intertribal fights 
occurred. But Wiremi Kingi guaranteed that no 
European should suffer in consequence, and the 
Government did not interfere. The neutrality of the 
Governor in these disputes, however, was regarded by 
the settlers as evidence of an intention on his part to 
prevent the colonists from acquiring land, and caused 
widespread discontent. Browne visited Taranaki, but 
failed to reconcile the hostile tribes, and reported to 
the Colonial Office that the Maoris regarded the new 
Parliament with distrust, and that in the existing 
state of affairs troops to the number of 1,600 and 
a man-of-war were necessary, as he foresaw danger. 

3S2 EVENTS FROM 1846 TO 1861. 

The result of the constant conflicts between the 
natives, and the desire on the part of some of them 
to combine for defence against the increasing power 
of the pakeJia led at this time to the initiation of a 
new movement amongst them, afterwards known as 
Kingism, which commenced without any apparent 
disloyalty, but eventually developed into a serious 
cause of trouble. Some of the most important chiefs 
saw that the new constitution made no provision for 
the representation or internal government of the 
Maoris themselves, though power was given to deal 
with all matters between natives and Europeans ; and 
as they considered that their chiefs were not receiv- 
ing that deference and appreciation which their mana 
entitled them to and that the nationality of their 
people was being undermined, a meeting was held 
in 1856 to discuss proposals for establishing a king- 
ship over the natives. No immediate action followed, 
but soon afterwards while their dignity was still 
suffering, Wi Tamihana, one of the greatest and 
most intelligent of the chiefs, went to Auckland to 
interview the Governor with the object of obtaining 
a small loan to put up a flour-mill. Instead of meet- 
ing with a warm personal reception, as his rank would 
have commanded from previous Governors, every- 
thing was done through the new native department ; 
and not only was the loan refused, but he did not see 
the Governor at all. This brought matters to a head. 
The dignity of the rangitij'a was offended, and the 
natives saw in the action of the Governor a step 
towards their disintegration as a nation. 

Wi Tamihana sent to the Waikato chiefs, informing 

> .^ 














384 EVENTS FROM 1846 TO 1861. 

them that his tribe had determined to make Te 
Whero Whero their king, and asking them to join 
in the movement. The selection was good, for Te 
Whero Whero, one of the oldest and best friends of 
the Europeans, was a chief of the highest rank, of 
large influence, and renowned amongst the Maoris as 
a man of great wisdom. The movement was taken 
up readily .by Te Heu Heu, Renata, and other 
friendly leaders, and was regarded by those Euro- 
peans best able to form an opinion as implying no 
disloyalty. But the matter assumed great importance 
in official eyes, and the Governor went to meet Te 
Whero Whero at Rangiriri. Here a large native 
meeting was held shortly afterwards, and the old 
chief told the Governor frankly that he believed they 
must have a king or some central authority amongst 
themselves to uphold the law ; but he also asked for 
a native magistrate to guide and teach them. 

At a subsequent meeting, it was decided, after a 
great deal of talking, that Te Whero Whero should 
be appointed king, and Mr. F. D. Fenton, who was 
present to represent the Governor, was appointed to 
establish a suitable local government system amongst 
the Maoris and to act as resident magistrate at 
Whangaroa. Unfortunately there was a conflict of 
authority and opinion between Mr. Fenton (as the 
representative of the Governor) and the native de- 
partment of the executive, and much was done which 
rendered that gentleman's work nugatory. For in- 
stance, he was sent to the Waikato country but with- 
out instructions to consult Te Whero Whero, although 
obliged to pass near to Te Whero Whero's village 

THE "king" movement. 385 

on his way, and the old chief regarded this as a direct 
and intentional slight to himself. He therefore, 
though then and to the day of his death receiving a 
pension from the Government, openly accepted the 
kingship under the title of Potatau. He was in- 
stalled at Ngaruawahia with much native ceremony, 
and many of the tribes sent in their submission. 

The news of the appointment of the king came 
during the sitting of Parliament, and was variously 
received. Amongst those who more clearly com- 
prehended the native mind, it was understood to 
be, as intended, a movement to build up a greater 
national feeling amongst the Maoris, and to establish 
a self-governing system under the supreme authority 
of the Governor, with a special desire for some 
central point to which they might appeal in land 
disputes and other matters. But the Governor, who 
was an old Indian officer, thought otherwise, and 
being badly advised, treated the movement as hostile. 
It. is, however, a matter of fact that from this time 
the tribal disputes and incessant feuds ceased, the 
natives acted more as one nation and their aspira- 
tions appeared to turn towards a higher civilisation 
upon European models. At the same time there 
were undoubtedly those amongst the natives who 
desired to prohibit entirely the sale of land to 
Europeans and to combine the Maoris for aggressive 
purposes. Meanwhile the restrictions imposed by 
Grey on the sale of firearms to the natives were 
removed on the plea that they induced smuggling, 
and the Maoris eagerly took advantage of the con- 
cession and bought all the arms they could obtain. 


386 EVENTS FROM 1846 TO 1861. 

Some intertribal disputes occurred about this time 
between a party headed by one Ihaia, and another 
under a chief named Katatore — who was aided by 
Wiremi Kingi — in connection with the Waitara lands 
in Taranaki. The settlers sided with Ihaia, who was 
willing to sell his land, and desired the Governor to 
put an end to the trouble by supporting his claims. 
But Governor Browne sought a solution of the difficulty 
by offering to convey Ihaia and his people to the 
Chatham Islands. Ihaia at first agreed, but afterwards 
refused, and having made peace with Kingi settled on 
land some fifteen or twenty miles from the Waitara 
River. The colonists still pressed the Government 
to acquire land for settlement, but Browne on 
the advice of Bishop Selwyn (who was highly 
respected by the natives), Chief Justice Martin, and 
other men of special experience, came to the con- 
clusion that much harm would be done by any 
attempt to take possession by force, and therefore 
declined to interfere. 

After a time, Browne again visited Taranaki, and 
expressed his willingness to purchase land, and at a 
meeting of a friendly character with the natives, one 
Teira came forward and offered to sell certain land 
on the south bank of Waitara ; whereupon Wiremi 
Kingi rose and, stating that the land was under his 
authority, declined to agree to the purchase ; he then 
at once withdrew. His action was taken as indi- 
cating want of respect to the Governor, although 
it was simply a Maori method of showing that 
the matter was at an end, and that further dis- 
cussion was useless. The Governor was urged to 


maintain his own authority and assert the Queen's 
sovereignty, and was influenced by these repre- 
sentations. The right of Wiremi Kingi to pro- 
hibit the sale was disallowed, though the Maoris 
asserted that he had a mana over the land, which, 
however, Teira in accordance with Maori usage, had 
the right to occupy. Thus a combination of ignor- 
ance of native customs and a mistaken sense of 
dignity once more led to a war, which might easily 
have been averted by the exercise of a little tact. 
Investigation a few years later showed that Kingi 
had acted perfectly within his rights, and that Teira's 
action was taken out of revenge over a domestic 

The Governor directed the survey of the block 
to be made, but when three months later the sur- 
veyors set to work they were driven off the land, 
not violently, but by a crowd of the ugliest and most 
objectionable old women of the tribe who kissed and 
hugged them till they fled, and then destroyed their 
pegs, and obliterated the boundary lines. Governor 
Browne, after consulting his ministers, thereupon 
proclaimed martial law in Taranaki, and possession 
was taken of the land by the military. The Maoris 
demanded an inquiry into the circumstances, but the 
Governor, considering that the question was now one 
of the Queen's sovereignty, which must be vindicated, 
declined. Passive resistance was at first offered 
by Kingi's people, but at last they erected a pah 
on the land, which was bombarded and eventually 
abandoned. Murders by the natives took place as 
was usual at the commencement of a war, and the 

Pi s 


military and local volunteers were speedily in the 

The first engagement occurred at Waireka, where, 
owing to the assistance of sailors from H.M.S. Niger, 
a paJi was captured. A great meeting of the 
Waikatos was meanwhile held at Ngaruawahia, at 
which sympathy with Kingi was shown, the opinion 
being generally expressed that the Governor should 
have held an inquiry before acting as he had done. 
Sympathy with Kingi spread rapidly, and troops were 
brought from various quarters in anticipation of an 
open rebellion. A severe repulse was met with 
before Puketekauere, and the troops in Taranaki 
were consequently increased to a strength of nearly two 
thousand. Owing to the difficulty of transport in a 
wild country without roads, no active operations were 
instituted until further reinforcements had arrived 
from India and China. Anxiety was felt meanwhile, 
as to the position which would be taken up by the 
Waikatos, and at the invitation of the Governor a 
great meeting of the chiefs was called at Kohim- 
arama, near Auckland ; not one half the number 
invited came, the chiefs holding commanding posi- 
tions in the Waikato country being absent, while of 
those present the Ngapuhis alone declared open 
hostility to Kingi. At this meeting resolutions were 
nevertheless carried expressing the determination ot 
those tribes which were represented not to join in the 
Kingi movement, though the war was denounced by 
many of them as hasty and unjust. 

Potatau died just prior to this meeting and his son, 
Matutaera, who adopted the name of Tawhiao, became 

3gO EVENTS FROM 1846 TO 1861. 

king in his stead. Though the supply of arms and 
ammunition to the Maoris had again been prohibited, 
they' were already pretty well supplied. General 
Pratt having arrived to take command, hostilities were 
resumed at Taranaki. A strong pa/i, erected by the 
natives at Mahoetahi, was stormed by a force of about 
one thousand five hundred troops and volunteers, and 
a complete defeat inflicted upon the natives. Pa/is at 
Matarikoriko and Huirangi were then attacked, and 
as usual abandoned when untenable, and General Pratt 
seeing that with the force at his disposal it would be 
impossible to completely stamp out the insurrection, 
which was increasing in its proportions, declined to 
move further south unless provision were made to 
secure him from attack on the Waikato side. For 
this purpose he asked for five thousand men, irres- 
pective of garrisons. During the lull which followed, 
the Maoris again occupied Waireka and other old 
/-a/is, and operations on a large scale were carried out 
to dislodge them. 

Some of the fortifications they had erected were of 
very great strength, and chosen with a keen appre- 
ciation of their strategical value, notably those at 
Paketekauere and Pukirangiora. But only that at 
Pukirangiora, which was defended by a strong force 
under the chief Hapurona, offered any lengthened 
resistance. A sap seven miles in length was con- 
structed as being the only means by which the 
fortifications could be approached on account of the 
inaccessible character of the country, and several 
encounters took place before the pa/i. Eventually 
Hapurona hoisted a flag of truce, with a view if 


»? HOT fv^ " W rfSK -y' : 


EVENTS FROM 1846 TO 1861. 

possible to bringing about peace, and accepted the con- 
ditions offered him by the Governor. These included 
a promise to investigate the title of the Waitara 
land — as to which the decision of the Governor was 
to be final — while all plunder was to be restored and 
the natives were to submit to the authority of the 
Queen. Kingi did not decline the terms offered to 
Hapurona but held aloof, and went with his people 
to the Waikato. General Cameron had meanwhile 
come to relieve General Pratt, and for the time being 
the Taranaki war was at an end.' 




General Browne opened up negotiations with 
the Waikato chiefs, but they insisted as a first con- 
dition that the Waitara question should be settled 
by law, and this the Governor, regarding the matter 
as one affecting the Queen's sovereignty, refused. He 
stated, moreover, that Kingi and those who obeyed 
him, were rebels who had forfeited all rights, and he 
would not listen to any of the terms proposed. An 
increase of troops was asked for, so that there might 
be in the colony five thousand men in addition to 
all garrisons ; and in May, 1861, a new proclamation 
to the Waikatos was issued in which the Governor 
charged them with breaking the treaty of Waitangi, 
by setting up a king, and required from them uncon- 
ditional submission to the Queen, restitution of all 
plunder, and compensation to the settlers for their 
losses. The Waikatos, through Wi Tamihana, depre- 
cated forcible and hasty action, and deplored the 
manner in which the Governor had commenced 


394 ^^^ ^^-O OF THE MAORI WARS. 

operations at Taranaki. A petition, signed by 175 
chiefs, was presented to the Governor, denying their 
disloyalty, and asking for a judge to inquire into the 
cause of the disagreements. Strong representations 
were also made to the Governor by Europeans averse 
to hastening into a war with the Waikatos, but his 
answer was clear and unmistakable. He informed 
the settlers that they must do as the Taranaki settlers 
had done, and remove their goods and families from 

These troubles came in the midst of disputes with 
the Imperial Government, as to the conditions upon 
which troops should be provided, and before any 
settlement was arrived at news was received of the 
recall of Governor Browne and the re-appointment of 
Sir George Grey. Grey found on his return that a 
great change had taken place in the circumstances of 
the colony since his departure, and that consequent 
upon the influx of population, a new order had arisen 
who did not understand the Maoris — who indeed 
themselves we're also changed — and that the south 
island, which was unaffected by the wars, was most 
densely peopled. He went resolutely to work ; the 
Imperial Government placed six thousand soldiers at 
his disposal, and these he employed in making roads 
through the Hunua forest which lay between Auck- 
land and the Waikato country, where, in the event of 
war, operations must be carried on. The road, 
though regarded with suspicion by the Maoris 
whose confidence the Governor made strenuous efforts 
to regain, was deemed indispensable. Browne's 
manifesto was quietly set aside, and the chiefs were 


given to understand that military operations would 
only be adopted as a last resource. 

The north island was divided into twenty native 
districts, and these again into hundreds, while native 
assessors and magistrates were appointed, with a civil 
.commissioner to preside over each district. Twelve 
persons were to be nominated for approval by the 
Governor as a Maori district council, and native 
owners, after the boundaries had been duly settled, 
were to have power to dispose of their land to 
Europeans, but for the time being only to the extent 
of one farm in each of the hundreds. The purchaser 
was also to be recommended by the natives, and 
approved by the Governor. 

The new institutions were successfully started north 
of Auckland, but in the Waikato district the reforms 
were coldly received by the^^ Maoris. Wi Tamihana 
suggested that a better course would be to have the 
laws made by the Runanga (native council) confirmed 
by the king, and then submitted to the Governor for 
approval. Grey, somewhat surprised, visited the 
Maoris, and found among them an utter distrust in 
the Government. He now was confronted by the 
difficulty arising from divided authority, for although 
under the Constitution he was still supreme in all 
matters affecting native affairs, he could not proceed 
without funds ; these had to be obtained from his 
ministers, who disagreed with his policy, and were 
disinclined to help him. 

In the meantime Grey's efforts at conciliation were 
bearing fruit, and it is probable that if he had been 
able to proceed the king's authority would soon have 


disappeared. But to add to his embarrassment the 
Imperial Government complained of the inactivity of 
the troops, who were still employed in making a 
military road to the stream Maungatawhiri, which 
was the boundary of the King country, and beyond 
which they could not go without entering native 
lands. Peremptory instructions were also received 
from the War Office that no further sums were to be 
paid from the military chest on any pretext what- 
ever, so that the expense of the war, if it was carried 
on, must fall upon the shoulders of the colonists 
themselves. Grey made a last attempt to meet the 
natives personally, and entered their country to inter- 
view the king. He met a number of influential 
chiefs, including Tamihana, and during the dis- 
cussion he informed them that he would not fight 
the king with the sword, but would dig round him 
till he fell of his own accord. This statement 
the Maoris construed as showing hostility, and, 
when added to the intention expressed by Grey of 
putting a steamer on the Waikato river, it increased 
their distrust. Differences, which afterwards became 
almost an open rupture, also arose between General 
Cameron and the Governor. At length the series of 
cross purposes and misunderstandings reached a 
climax. The Governor, pending the settlement of 
the dispute about the Waitara block in the Taranaki 
district, had given the Maoris temporary possession 
of the Tataraimaka block, and when, after full in- 
vestigation, he was assured of the genuineness of 
Kingi's statements regarding the Waitara block, he 
decided to restore the latter to the owners. At the 



same time, as an indication of his authority, he took 
possession of Tataraimaka, with one hundred men, 
intending to hand over the other block immediately. 

As ill-luck would have it, his ministers chose this 
moment to assert themselves, and consequently some 
delay occurred in regard to the latter step, a delay 
which proved fatal to the peace of the colony. The 
natives, misinterpreting Grey's action in regard to 
Tataraimaka, took it as a declaration of war, and, 
gathering in the Taranaki district, suddenly attacked 
a small party of soldiers who were passing from one 
block to the other, and killed all but one of them. 
This of course brought matters to a head. The 
Governor demanded either that the ministry should 
take full control of native affairs, or that he should be 
granted the power and funds to carry out a campaign. 
While the Governor and his advisers were thus 
squabbling war began. The first blows were struck 
in Taranaki, and the insurgents were defeated with 
heavy loss at Katikara. Operations were then trans- 
ferred to the Waikato district, and all Maoris not 
willing to declare their allegiance were forced behind 
the Maungatawhiri stream, action which induced 
many to enter the King country rather than desert 
their countrymen. The natives generally were in a 
wild state of excitement, though some of the chiefs, 
and notably Wi Tamihana, did all in their power to 
prevent war. 

At length, on July 12, 1863, General Cameron 
crossed the Maungatawhiri, and on the 17th there 
was fighting at Koheroa, from which the Maoris were 
driven with considerable loss. War was now openly 


declared, and Tamihana, no longer able to resist the 
course of events, threw in his lot with his own people. 
In anticipation of the crisis, every possible means had 
been adopted to increase the European forces. Re- 
cruiting officers were sent to Australia, troops came 
from India, and twenty thousand men of all arms and 
services were speedily available. Several steamers 
were placed on the Waikato river, and the colony was 
fairly launched upon its greatest and most momentous 
struggle with the native races. The Maoris were no 
mean foes, and with great bravery prosecuted a 
guerilla warfare both in the Auckland and Taranaki 
districts. Galloway, a redoubt twenty miles from 
Auckland, and to the rear of the base of operations, 
was attacked, but the natives were gradually driven 
back, and the campaign was confined almost ex- 
clusively to the Waikato district. 

Parliament met and considered the position, and a 
vigorous war policy was agreed upon. It was decided 
— in opposition to Grey's advice — that two and three- 
quarter million acres of land in the disturbed districts 
should be confiscated, and that a loan of ^^4,000,000 
should be raised to defray the charges of the war. 
Several minor skirmishes followed Koheroa, and on 
the 30th of October General Cameron took his first 
important step. An attack both from the river and 
the shore was planned on the pak at Rangiriri, a 
strongly entrenched position ; and — although a bril- 
liant defence was offered by the natives, and no less 
than 124 Europeans were killed or wounded — • 
during the night the Maoris retreated. A large 
number of prisoners, taken by Cameron, were placed 


on the island of Kawan, but they subsequently 
escaped to the mainland. A strong line of redoubts 
was now thrown across the country, and General 
Cameron hemmed in the natives. The Governor, 
now seeing the victory in his hands, desired to make 
a generous peace, but his ministers objected, con- 
sidering that a decisive blow should be struck while 
the opportunity was there. 

A long and acrimonious controversy followed, but 
nothing came of Grey's proposals, and operations 
were resumed with vigour. The natives were driven 
from one position to another, until the crowning con- 
flict of the Waikato war took place at Orakau, where 
three hundred ill-armed and ill-fed Maoris made an 
heroic defence against a force of over fifteen hundred 
British soldiers. After a desperate sortie, the greater 
part of them were destroyed, and the wretched rem- 
nant, with Rewi and the king, escaped to the hilly 
country, where it was impossible to follow them. 

A move was then made by Cameron to the Tau- 
ranga district on the eastern coast, where a strong 
force of Maoris was entrenched at the Gate-pah, a 
fortification in the vicinity of the Tauranga harbour. 
No great defence was offered until about three 
hundred men were inside the pak, when fire was 
opened at close range by the Maoris in concealment, 
and before a retreat could be made twenty-four 
soldiers were killed and eighty wounded. The 
natives then abandoned the pa/i, and retired to rifle- 
pits near the Wairoa, from which they were dis- 
lodged ; but they declined the terms of peace which 
were offered, and put up a new pa/i at Te Ranga, 


which was stormed and taken after a splendid defence, 
the loss by the Maoris amounting to a hundred and 
twenty killed and wounded, while the attacking force 
had thirteen killed and thirty-nine wounded. The 
Tauranga tribes, after this reverse, submitted uncon- 
ditionally, and the troubles in the Waikato and 
eastern districts closed. The war was now practically 
at an end, the confiscated land was taken possession 
of by military settlers, and Wi Tamihana and other 
chiefs tendered their submission. 

But a fresh outbreak had in the meantime taken 
place in the Taranaki district, which was to result in 
a series of horrible scenes and much bloodshed. A 
number of the Maoris, casting off the religion of the 
pakeha, had embraced what was commonly known as 
Hauhauism, a strange compound of Judaism, Maori 
mythology with its attendant barbarous atrocities, 
and other superstitions. Most of the great chiefs 
held aloof from the new creed, but sufficient numbers 
embraced it to be dangerous enemies, and the first 
effects were seen at Ahuahu, where a reconnoitring 
party fell into an ambuscade. It was afterwards 
found that the bodies of those killed had been 
decapitated, and much mutilated ; the heads were 
dried in the Maori fashion, and carried about on long 
poles. The new sect, however, gained but small sup- 
port, for few of the leading chiefs embraced its tenets, 
and many others came forward in open opposition. 
At length the friendly tribes on the Wanganui river, 
under Mete Kingi and other chiefs, challenged the 
Hauhaus to prove the power of their new gods by a 
conflict on the island of Moutoa, up the river. A 


desperate fight took place, resulting in the total 
defeat of the Hauhaus, who had over forty killed. 
The fanatics then commenced operations all over the 
country ; at Taranaki and the Wanganui district 
on the west coast, at Hawke's Bay and Poverty Bay 
on the east coast, there was a considerable uprising. 
On the 30th of April the insurgents made a daring 
attack on the redoubt at Sentry Hill, close to New 
Plymouth, but were beaten off with much loss ; and 
the remainder of the war in the Taranaki district took 
the form of skirmishes and bush fights, which were 
conducted with great bravery and skill on both sides. 
Peace was declared by the Governor on October 
24, 1864, and a pardon to all excepting a few con- 
cerned in specified murders was offered. As a result 
of the policy of the Governor, the ministry, who dis- 
approved, resigned. The King natives, though holding 
aloof from the Hauhaus, were implacable, and at 
the close of the Waikato campaign they sullenly 
retired into their own country, and drew a boundary 
line called the Aiikati, to pass which without per- 
mission meant instant death. For many years this 
frontier was respected, and the King country re- 
mained unknown to Europeans ; but the restrictions 
have been gradually broken down, causing an inevi- 
table loss of the king's influence. This was the last 
serious conflict with the King natives, but a com- 
paratively small number of Maoris in other parts of 
the colony who adopted Hauhauism continued to 
fight with singular bravery and skill, frequently 
against overwhelming odds. Horrible and brutal 
murders of settlers often occurred, and on both sides 



in the campaign but little mercy was henceforth 
shown. On the west coast the Hauhaus caused great 
uneasiness, and General Cameron again took the 
field. On the east coast the friendly chiefs, Ropata 
and Mokena, carried on the war with the fanatics, 
whom they described as the " mad dogs." 

Numerous engagements took place, and in Novem- 
ber, 1865, a strong pak at Waerenga - a - hika, in 
Poverty Bay, was captured with seventy prisoners 
and a loss of 123 Hauhaus. The ill feeling which 
had arisen between the Governor and General 
Cameron now became more pronounced than ever ; 
there were constant conflicts between the General 
and the War Office on one side, and Grey and his 
ministers on the other, and when the Governor, in the 
absence of General Cameron in S3^dney, took the 
Wereroa pah — which was being attacked by the 
Imperial troops with the Colonial forces — things 
reached a climax. General Cameron resigned, and 
his place was filled by Major-General Chute. Con- 
stant skirmishes followed in the neighbourhood of 
Mount Egmont, and the Patea district, until the 
campaign was closed by a brilliant forced march of 
Chute's army through the disturbed districts, the dis- 
play of force causing a cessation of hostilities on the 
part of the Maoris and the Imperial troops were 
mostly withdrawn from New Zealand. 

But Grey's conflicts with the Imperial authorities 
rendered his position untenable, and after a vigorous 
correspondence, full of recriminations, he was recalled. 
To prevent a recurrence of misunderstandings. 
Native Land Courts were created and a Native Rights 


Act, confirming the Maori tenure according to their 
ancient customs and usages, was passed. More 
generous legislation, including an Act providing four 
seats for Maori representatives in Parliament followed, 
and Wi Tamihana visited Wellington and gave 
evidence before a Select Committee appointed to 
inquire into the causes of the Maori war. Correspond- 
ence with the Imperial Government about the pay- 
ment of the troops continued, and eventually it was 
decided at the instigation of Mr. Weld, the Premier, 
that for the future the colony should carry on its own 
wars, with its own men, and at its own cost. Only 
one Imperial regiment remained, and the British 
troops henceforth played but a very small part in the 
affairs of the colony. 

The Hauhaus were still active in the interior and 
occasionally made visits to the west coast ; but they 
were pursued by Major McDonnell with a force of 
Colonial militia and natives and did but little damage ; 
meanwhile the confiscated lands were surveyed 
and prepared for settlement. Open hostilities were 
re-commenced on the west coast in May, 1868, when 
Titokowaru, a chief who had hitherto been friendly, 
tried to prevent the arrest of some Maoris for horse- 
stealing. Several murders followed, and almost at 
the same time Te Kooti, a young chief who had been 
banished to the Chatham Islands, escaped with about 
seventy followers in the schooner Rifleman, which 
they captured upon its visiting the islands, and 
landed on the east coast. He was at once pursued 
by the settlers, but offered a bold resistance, and the 
militia were called out under Colonel Whitmore. 


Then began a long and costly guerilla campaign, in 
which Te Kooti proved himself a leader of great 
capacity and courage, and being also an orator of 
considerable power, he gathered about him a strong 
band of followers with whom he wrought much 
havoc in the east coast settlements. There was 
once more war on both the east and west coasts ; 
but the fighting was carried on principally in the 


Colonel McDonnell, in charge of the west coast 
forces, attacked Titokowaru's pak at Te-ngutu-o-te- 
manu and destroyed it, and an unsuccessful attempt 
was made to take a new />a/i erected by him at 
Ruaruru. The Maoris on this occasion lay in 
ambush, pouring a deadly fire on the attacking force, 
and inflicting severe loss. A month or two later 
Colonel McDonnell had again to retire from Okutuku, 
and the command subsequently was entrusted to 


Colonel Whitmore. Another pak at Tauranga-ika 
was taken, but Titokowaru escaped by an under- 
ground passage, and continued to attack and harass 
Whitmore's forces. Some friendly natives under 
Keepa eventually drove Titokowaru up the Patea 
River for some distance and quite broke up his band. 
One of the most distressing events connected with 
the war on this side of the island was the massacre 
at the White Cliffs, north of Waitara, of the Rev. 
John Whitely, an old and highly respected Wesleyan 
missionary, and several other Europeans, including 
women and children. The news of this atrocity 
caused a thrill of horror to run throughout the 
colony, but the murderers were never punished, 
although the scene of the outrage was afterwards 
■ occupied by armed constabulary for many years. 

This ended the Taranaki war, but while there was 
peace in the west coast, Te Kooti kept his enemies 
hard at work in the east, and in the interior. With 
consummate skill and audacity, he carried on the 
campaign for some time longer, managing always to 
elude his pursuers even when apparently hopelessly 
hemmed in. Finally, the pursuit was left to the 
native chiefs, Ropata, Keepa, and Topia, and a reward 
of ;^5,ooo was offered by the Government for Te 
Kooti's capture. Eventually he escaped into the King 
country, where his mana as a fighting chief and priest 
was sufficient to gain him much sympathy and he 
was allowed by the Waikatos to remain amongst 
them, though he received no actual support at their 
hands. For political reasons the pursuit was then 
relaxed and he was allowed by the Government to 


remain ; but on account of the atrocities said to have 
been committed by his direction, his name was long 
referred to by the settlers with expressions of oppro- 
brium and execration. With the flight of Te Kooti, 
the Maori wars closed, and since 1871 there have been 
no further disturbances. Occasional alarm has been 
felt in the frontier districts, but confidence has been 
gradually restored, and peaceful European settlements 
have sprung up in spots which formerly were the 
scene of bloodshed and disorder. In 1872, Wiremi 
Kingi accepted the offer of Mr. Donald McLean to 
return to his old place at Waitara where he was 
gladly received by the European population. 

Some ten years later a chief known as Te Whiti 
brought great crowds of natives to his J)a/i at 
Parihaka to discuss what he considered a breach of a 
promise to the friendly natives, and much uneasiness 
was felt by the settlers on the west coast. Even- 
tually the minister for the native affairs, Mr. Bryce, 
with a strong force of armed constabulary and volun- 
teers, effected peaceably Te Whiti's arrest ; and 
though the legality of the step was much questioned 
by his opponents, the result was good. A commis- 
sion was appointed to inquire into the matters com- 
plained of, and large areas of land were given to 
those who had legitimate claims. With the excep- 
tion of the Hauhaus and a few other individual cases, 
the Maoris generally proved themselves to be brave 
and generous foes. They were remarkable fighters, 
and were led by men with wonderful strategical 
capacity and military instinct. But the old fighting 
days are now- over, it is hoped, for ever, and the two 



races are intermingling and living harmoniously side 
by side. The Maoris are moreover meeting the fate 
of all savage people who come in contact with a 
higher civilisation, and are rapidly vanishing from the 
land of their fathers. 




The story of the native wars occupies so large a 
place in New Zealand history that other matters are 
liable to be lost sight of. While the events already 
recorded were taking place, however, much solid 
progress was made in industrial development. In 
i860, the first railway in the colony was constructed 
between Christchurch and Lyttelton, and from this 
period date many important constitutional and other 
changes. The colony had now overcome its earlier 
troubles, and the inhabitants, with a self-reliance bred 
by the struggles that had so severely tested their 
courage and endurance, acted decisively in questions 
which in other colonies were as yet scarcely raised. 
New Zealand is perhaps in its legislation the most 
democratic of the Australasian provinces. Not- 
withstanding the exodus which had taken place 
during the gold rush to California and Australia, the 
population had steadily increased, and more especially 

in the south island rapid progress was being made, 



while the Maori troubles were retarding the develop- 
ment of the north. 

In 1 86 1 very rich deposits of gold were found at 
Tuapeka, Clutha, and elsewhere, in Otago and later 
on on the west coast of the south island. Speedily 
diggers who had worked out the best patches then 
known in Australia flocked to the colony, and the 
growth of the population added to the importance of 
the pastoral and agricultural interests. After consti- 
tutional government had been granted, the chief 
political parties were the advocates of centralisation 
on one side, and the supporters of the provincial 
system then prevailing on the other. Many changes 
were made in the electoral system, and in i860 the 
population standard laid down by the Constitution Act 
as the basis of representation was abandoned, and the 
wealth and other circumstances of a district were 
made factors in its claims. A natural result was that 
inequalities arose which were the cause of much 
contention. The Provincial Councils were largely 
dependent for their revenue on the customs duties 
remaining after the cost of the central government 
had been met, and the increasing amount required by 
the central executive on account of the war alarmed 
those who supported the provincial system. 

So strong was the aversion of some to centralisa- 
tion, that there was a serious danger at one time 
of a proposal to divide the colony into two separate 
states being carried into effect ; but fortunately no 
such error was actually made. In 1864 the seat of 
government was removed to Wellington which was 
more generally convenient than Auckland, and the 


" Centralists," as the advocates of one administrative 
authority were called, gradually increased their 
influence. In 1867 the consolidation of all loans and 
debentures to the extent of seven millions was effected, 
and in the following year the ballot was substituted 
for open voting at elections. The colony was at this 
time in a very depressed condition owing to the fall- 
ing off in the yield of gold and the shrinkage in the 
price of colonial produce in England ; but the settlers 
gradually adapted themselves to the new conditions, 
and in 1870 were sufficiently sanguine to support the 
policy initiated by Sir Julius Vogel, which provided 
for the borrowing by the Central Government of 
large sums of money on the English market, for the 
purposes of public works and immigration, matters 
which hitherto had been entrusted to the Provincial 

New departments of the Central Government were 
created to carry on the scheme under which loans 
to the extent of ten millions were floated, and two 
and a half million acres of land were sold. It was 
intended to open up by railways, &c., the land for 
settlement, and at the same time introduce immi- 
grants, while i^ 1, 000,000 was to be devoted to defence 
during the next five years in maintaining the armed 
constabulary, as the colonial permanent forces were 
now termed. The expectations of the framer of the 
scheme were to a great extent fulfilled, for during the 
next few years population and the outward signs of 
prosperity increased by leaps and bounds. The 
Provincials Councils still remained in force, but they 
were shorn of much of their influence, and the 


principal effect of the new system was a scramble 
between the provinces for the loan money which was 
being spent with such lavish prodigality. 

The effect on the public life of the colony, as m.ay 
readily be imagined, was not good. The large ex- 
penditure of borrowed money created a corresponding 
mania for private speculation, and an unreasonable 
inflation of values. One inevitable result of the 
centralisation of the public works administration, and 
the increased patronage thus given to the General 
Government was the collapse of the Provincial 
Councils. In 1876 Sir Julius Vogel, who had pre- 
viously been a warm supporter of the provincial 
system, came boldly down with a Bill for their 
abolition. A great popular outcry followed this step, 
and Sir George Grey, who had for some years lived 
in retirement on the island of Kawan, entered political 
life. Sir Julius Vogel's Bill was, nevertheless, carried, 
though it was stipulated that it should not come into 
force until the new parliament was elected. The Act 
created sixty-three counties to take the place of the 
provinces, and borough councils were provided for the 
towns, as well as other machinery for local govern- 
ment. Sir George Grey was a member of the new 
Parliament, and became the first premier under the 
new order of things, though he had a very small 
majority at his back. 

The history of the colony has since been a record 
of steady progress, and characteristic measures have 
found their way on to the statute book. The duration 
of Parliament has been reduced from five to three 
years ; the provision for payment of members of 


Parliament has been made statutory instead of being 
by annual vote ; and free and compulsory education 
by the State of all children to a certain standard has 
been established. The " one man one vote " principle 
found favour when in 1889 all persons were prohibited 
from voting in more than one constituency at any 
election of members to the House of Representatives. 
These and many other important measures were 
carried by different ministries, which have not un- 
frequently been coalitions. 

The policy of lavish borrowing, which was begun 
in 1870, was followed by an inevitable reaction 
between the years 1880 and 1890. Severe depression 
of all industries afflicted the colony, and the value 
of real property fell to an absurd figure, trade de- 
creased and many of the inhabitants left for Australia 
and elsewhere. But the situation was boldly faced, 
and by severe economy in the public expenditure, 
and a cessation of the construction of unproductive 
public works, the finances were placed once more 
upon a sound basis. Confidence was gradually re- 
stored, and the position of New Zealand is now as 
good as that of any of its neighbours. The develop- 
ment of its grand resources is steadily going forward, 
and much enterprise has been shown in the inaugu- 
ration of an extensive export of meat by which 
New Zealand sends annually vast quantities of 
frozen mutton to London, where it commands a 
ready sale and high price. Almost simultaneously 
with the introduction of this trade lines of direct 
steamers with England were started, and the coastal 
and intercolonial steam service was greatly improved. 


Telegraphic communication is established throughout 
the colony, which was connected with the mainland 
of Australia by cable in 1876. A vigorous policy of 
railway construction has been adopted, and several 
private lines have been made on the land grant 
principle. Formed amidst the gravest difficulties, 
which have only been overcome by the indomitable 
resolution and courage of the settlers, New Zealand 
is to-day one of the most prosperous members of the 
Australian group. Its beautiful scenery and climate 
make it the playground of pleasure-seekers from 
all parts of Australia, and the conditions of life are 
singularly like those prevailing in the most favoured 
positions of the mother country. 




For many years after Captain Phillip landed at 
Sydney Cove there were practically no free labourers 
in Australia. All work was performed by the con- 
victs, under the direction of the Governor, or by 
servants assigned to private employers. Even when 
free artisans and other workers began to arrive, the 
competition in most trades with the assigned convicts 
caused wages to be meagre, and the standard of living 
extremely low. The most degrading immorality 
permeated almost every grade of society, and the 
working classes were not backward in following the 
example of their masters. Wages, both of bond and 
free, were the subject of general orders by the 
Governor. Thus at one time it was directed that, in 
addition to the rations according to, and equal with, 
the Government allowance, the sum of ;^io sterling 
per annum to a man convict, and £'j sterling to 
a v/oman convict, as including the value of the slops 
allowed, and the sum of ^7, or £^ los. exclusive of 
slops, should be paid to duly-assigned servants ; and a 



schedule of remuneration for free labour much on the 
same scale was issued in regard to the principal 
agricultural employments. As yet the number of 
artificers and mechanics was so small that it was not 
considered worth while to include them in the regu- 
lations. The Government works occupied all the 
best of the carpenters, stonemasons, and sawyers, so 
that the few free men who followed these trades were 
always in demand. 

Of course there was evasion of this sort of order, 
and in a proclamation issued in 1810, after fixing 
wages at 5s. for an eleven-hour day, it was provided 
that " persons taking or demanding more, or refusing 
to work at the above rates to be set in the stocks for 
two days and one night for the first offence, and for 
a second or continual refusal three months hard 
labour. Masters paying more to be imprisoned for 
ten days without bail, to pay a fine of ^^5, and to 
remain in prison until paid." When food and clothing 
were fairly cheap, employers generally paid a portion 
of their workman's wages by rations or in kind, a 
system which had become recognised owing to the 
hand-to-mouth manner in which most business was 
conducted. Agriculture was by far the most im- 
portant industry of the settlement, but the extra- 
ordinary fluctuations to which it was liable caused 
much hardship to those engaged. One year they 
would be nearly ruined by the abundance of the 
season ; in the next their whole crop, and frequently 
the homesteads too, would be swept away by a flood, 
for as yet cultivation was confined to the banks of the 
Hawkesbury and Nepean rivers. For instance, in 


1804 there was a most disastrously good harvest. 
The yield of grain was so heavy and so much in 
excess of the requirements of the population, that 
its price fell below the actual cost of reaping, thresh- 
ing, and carting. Much of the grain was quite 
unmarketable, and the unfortunate farmers were 
consequently nearly ruined. Next season the whole 
colony was reduced to the verge of famine, and wheat 
and maize, which a few months previously had been 
worthless, ran up to ;^5 to £6 per bushel, on account 
of a great flood which came suddenly down the rivers 
and swept away in a few hours, not only all the old 
grain which still remained on hand from the previous 
season, but the whole of the new harvest as well. 

The variations in the price of the necessaries of life, 
due to inundations, or drought, or abnormally good 
crops, seriously affected the labouring poor. There 
was little to choose between evils of abundance and 
famine, for the wage-earner suffered as much from loss 
of employment on account of excessive production as 
from the risk of starvation by the scarcity of food. 
Fortunately meat was plentiful and comparatively 
cheap — about sixpence per lb. — and not subject to 
the same influences as grain, so that a dearth of one 
article of food could be to some extent met by an 
increase in the consumption of another. Under these 
conditions agriculture became unpopular, and there 
was a disproportionate growth in other branches of 
industry ; but it is curious, in view of the extraordinary 
efforts that have since been made by some colonies to 
increase manufacturing enterprise, to read that persons 
at this time regarded with apprehension the rapid 



development of manufactures. Woollen cloth, hats, 
earthenware, pipes, salt, candles, soap, beer, leather, 
and almost all the articles in common demand were 
made locally, and Wentworth, writing in 1819, con- 
sidered that the time was close at hand when the 
necessity of importing manufactured articles from 
Great Britain would have been entirely removed. 

Previous to 1836 the average daily wage of 
mechanics in building trades was almost 6s. 6d., 
and farm and other labourers, taking one year 
with another, were paid at the rate of about ;^i8 
per annum, with food and lodging. During the 
years following 1836, larger numbers of free immi- 
grants came to Austrrdia, bringing with them a higher 
standard of living, and consequently a desire for 
better wage than that previously paid. Competition 
with convict labour had hitherto so degraded the free 
workers that as a rule they were willing to live upon 
a wage so small as compared with the current prices 
of commodities as to render it impossible for them to 
maintain even a semblance of decency, to say nothing 
of comfort, and even after the class of assigned 
servants had been largely diluted by free immigration, 
the convicts, emancipated or bond, comprised one- 
third of the total population, and had a proportionate 
influence on the labour market. But as the colony 
grew, and the demands of the settlers for assigned 
servants became far in excess of the supply, the 
influence of the convict element was to a great 
extent removed. Wages rapidly rose, and about four 
years after the arrival of the first assisted settlers 
the prospects of the working classes greatly improved. 


The advance made was, however, lost in the severe 
depression which followed the commercial crisis in 
1843. -^11 the provinces were more or less influenced, 
but in New South Wales the effects were most 
severely felt. Wages, which in the building 
trades had reached 8s, gd, per day, fell rapidly 
to 6s., and then to 4s. — a lower figure than 
had ever previously been reached. Farm and other 
labourers who, in 1842, were getting ;^22 per annum 
with their board and lodging, were paid ^^15 in 1843, 
and were thankful if they could obtain work at these 
rates. As the panic subsided, there was a slight 
recovery in both wages and prices, but Australia 
could not escape long punishment for the extravagant 
speculation which had been prevalent. Although 
wages were improved, and in the building trades 
stood at an average of 5s. 6d. per day in 1847 ^s 
compared with 4s. in 1845, there was nothing to 
sustain the rise, and the average fell during the next 
three years to 4s. 6d. per day. This state of things 
continued until the whole of the colonies were thrown 
into a ferment by the gold discoveries, and the 
general stampede from the towns made it necessary 
for employers to pay almost any sum demanded by 
their men. The state of Melbourne is thus described 
in a letter written in June, 1852. A carter, it is stated, 
made £12 per week, his expenses not amounting 
to more than £4, while a cab or carriage driver 
obtained fares at the rate of something like ;^ 1,400 per 
annum. Masons and carpenters received £1 d. day, 
but were not inclined to work even for this, and 
domestic servants could not be got for love or money. 







, *°° 



A no 



A 00 
























1 r 



1 \ 

i /- ■ 


! .-' 























} 1 







X I 





Wages Level shown thus : 
Price Level shown thus : 


A load of water cost i8s. ; a load of wood £4; 
boots £4., and a pair of shoes £2. The dangers of 
the road, according to the writer, caused a great 
demand for firearms, and a consignment of pistols, 
invoiced at £60 sold in a week for nearly ^^700. ' '. 

Probably the condition of things is somewhat 
exaggerated, but there can be no doubt that the gold 
discoveries completely changed the status of the 
working man. Instead of accepting what he could 
get, for some years he was enabled to dictate his own 
terms, and the spirit of independence called into life 
has never yet died out. The labour market was more 
or less unsettled until about 1857, when things began 
to slowly slip back into their normal condition. The 
year 1854 was the highest point reached in money 
wages. In 1855 the average daily remuneration in the 
building trades fell to about five shillings, but the 
annual wages of farm labourers, who were still very 
scarce, advanced £c^. 

The wages of building trades mechanics continued 
to decline until in 1869, when about 8s. 6d. per diem 
was the ruling figure, but during the next three years 
there was a slight recovery. Since 1871 the variations 
in the rates paid to mechanics have been very slight,' 
the range amounting to only about is. per diem ; but 
the progressive increase which was visible in the years 
immediately following 1851 has been maintained in 
the case of agricultural and unskilled labour, and 
about £4.6 per annum with rations and lodgings is 
now the average for farm and station hands as com- 
pared with £;^'/ los. in 1881, and ^^28 at the com- 
mencement of the previous decade. 


The mechanical trades did not submit quietly to 
the reductions which took place between 1855 and 
i860, and from this period dates the movement in 
favour of the " eight-hours' day," and the systematic 
organisation of the labour forces. Of course, prior to 
1855, there were some trade unions, but they were 
insignificant and powerless to materially control 
matters affecting the hours of labour or wages of 
their members. The eight-hour agitation first com- 
menced in New Zealand, and was then taken up 
by the stonemasons of Sydney, and a little later by 
various classes of operatives in Melbourne. The 
main plea urged in support of shortening the hours 
of labour was that by this means employment could 
be provided for more men. The question of indirectly 
increasing the earnings of workers by creating more 
" overtime " does not at first seem to have been a 
consideration, for the promoters of the movement 
expressed themselves perfectly willing to accept a • 
corresponding reduction in wages should their request 
as to the hours be granted. Many of the large em- 
ployers met the men in a very fair spirit, and with 
the exception of a few strikes there was wonderfully 
little friction. Gradually the eight-hour day spread 
from one trade to another, until now it is the recog- 
nised working period in most occupations, and the 
annual commemoration of its inauguration is made 
the occasion of a general public holiday. 

The power of the Labour Unions has been prin- 
cipally exercised in the endeavour to maintain the 
standard of wages, and hitherto their efforts in this 
direction have met with a considerable measure of 

424 WORK And wages. 

success. Naturally any competition which threatens 
to undermine the status of labour is regarded with 
extreme hostility, and the plodding Chinamen, who 
came to Australia in some numbers in the years 
following the gold discoveries, became the objects 
of popular aversion. At first this feeling was de- 
monstrated by isolated acts of violence perpetrated 
on the Chinese at the diggings, but generally a 
systematic agitation in favour of the imposition of 
some legal restraint on Chinese immigration gained 
support, and in 1880 Acts were passed by all the 
colonies, with the exception of Western Australia and 
South Australia (so far as the Northern Territory is 
concerned), imposing a poll tax of ;^io on all Chinese 
arriving in Australia, and a high fine on all captams 
of vessels who allowed more than a specified number 
to land from their ships. These precautions did not, 
however, have the desired effect, and in 1888 the 
various governments were compelled by the force of 
public feeling to introduce new legislation of a drastic 
character. Masters of vessels are now forbidden 
under a heavy penalty to bring more than one 
Chinese to every 300 tons of their ships, and a poll 
tax of ;^ioo is charged each Chinaman on landing. 
In Western Australia the old £10 tax has been 
adopted, and in the Northern Territory no tax at all 
is as yet imposed. By these means the desired end 
was gained, and the immigration of Chinese has 
almost entirely ceased. Nevertheless the expressions 
of hostility towards the few thousand Chinese who 
were already in Australia before the passing of this 
law continue, and the Government is constantly being 


urged to compel the manufactures of the Chinese 
cabinetmakers, &c., to be especially branded. 

It is difficult to foresee what will be the future of 
the labour organisations in Australia, but it is not 
improbable that the limit of their power has been 
nearly reached. So long as there was a lavish ex- 
penditure of borrowed money by the Government on 
public works, and a consequent inflation of all values, 
the demand for mechanics was in excess of the 
supply, and the unions were able with comparative 
ease to prevent their members from accepting work 
at prices below the authorised rates. But all this is 
changed. For many years most of the colonies will 
have to exercise severe economy in the construction 
of public works and buildings, and already the 
decrease thus caused in employment is having its 
effect. Although the nominal rates of remuneration 
are maintained in all trades where it is possible, there 
is considerable increase in the proportion of work 
done by the piece, and jobs are frequently taken at 
a figure which cannot possibly yield to the labourer 
wages equivalent to the union standard. In addition 
to these considerations the labour bodies are not now 
prepared for a struggle. The picportion of their 
members to the total adult wage-earning population 
is small ; their funds, which were at one time con- 
siderable, have been exhausted by recent protracted 
but abortive strikes ; and, lastly, the masters have been 
taught a lesson by their men, and have proved apt 
pupils. Instead of the whole force of combined 
labour being directed against one unsupported em- 
ployer, the unions in any future struggle will have 


to face an equally if not more perfect organisation 
than their own, and in a contest under such conditions 
the victory could only go one way. 

The attempt to meet this development by the 
creation of a " labour party " in Parliament has 
failed, for it has been found to be the easiest thing 
in the world for any fairly astute politician to split its 
ranks whenever he may deem such a course expedient, 
while the labouring classes themselves hold such very 
mixed opinions on most questions of importance, that 
a delegate, such as most labour members really are, 
finds it impossible to escape the censure of his 
constituents. The case has been stated as briefly and 
clearly as possible, but there are other influences at 
work which there is not space to trace here. It will 
be a deplorable event, if the labour unions collapse 
under the great strain to which they must before 
long be subjected. Although mingled with many 
foolish and ignorant demands, the main aspirations 
of the working classes in Australia are entirely good, 
and the trade societies are the only agencies through 
which those aspirations can be made known ; while 
the very fact of the power to organise implies a 
training in the highest qualities of citizenship. From 
a labour party in Parliament but little is to be hoped, 
and it is doubtful if the legislature with the best 
intentions can do much towards the settlement of 
matters between employers and employed. The 
relations betvveen the two classes have been aptly 
described by a large employer of labour in Australia 
as similar to those existing between husband and 
wife. They are utterly dependent one upon the 


other, and, as they have to pass their life together 
somehow, this can best be done by the exercise of 
mutual respect and moderation. Outside intervention 
is, in one case as in the other, more likely to do harm 
than good, and the interference of the law, except in 
the restraint of violence or the punishment of dis- 
honesty, will have no better result. 



(1 847-1 893.) 

The creation of an Assembly, in which all the 
colonies of Australasia should be represented, to deal 
with matters affecting the provinces generally, was 
seriously suggested by Earl Grey when, in 1847, he 
announced the intentions of the Imperial Government 
with regard to the proposed alterations in the colonial 
constitutions. " Some method," wrote the Secretary 
of State, " would be devised for enabling the various 
legislatures of the several Australian colonies to co- 
operate with each other in the enactment of such 
laws as may be necessary for regulating the interests 
common to those possessions collectively ; such, for 
example, are the imposition of duties of import and 
export, the conveyance of letters, and the formation 
of roads, railways, or other internal communications 
traversing any two or more of such colonies." The 
storm of opposition which greeted the rest of Earl 
Grey's proposals on this occasion has been described 
elsewhere, and no steps were consequently taken to 

give effect to his recommendations with regard to a 



federal assembly. The importance of the subject 
was not, however, forgotten, and it was referred to 
at some length in the Report of the Committee of 
the Privy Council on Trade and Plantations con- 
cerning Australian affairs which was brought up eaily 
in 1849. The words of the report are peculiarly 
significant, in view of the policy which was before 
long adopted by the colony of Victoria, for the 
committee saw the " obstruction to the intercolonial 
trade," and " the check to the development of the 
resources " which must inevitably follow tariff re- 
strictions preventing goods from being carried from 
one colony to another " with the same absolute 
freedom as between any two adjacent counties in 
England." For this reason it was recommended 
that an authority should be created " to act for all the 
colonies conjointly," and it was suggested that the 
Governor of New South Wales should be made 
Governor-general, and be empowered to call together 
a " General Assembly of Australia," comprising him- 
self and a single House of Delegates elected by the 
legislatures of the various colonies. 

The General Assembly was to deal with customs 
duties, postal arrangements, roads, canals, railways, 
beacons and lighthouses, shipping, weights and 
measures, and such other matters as from time to 
time might be referred to it. The expenses of the 
administration were to be met by " an equal per- 
centage from the revenue received in all the colonies." 
In addition a Supreme Court of Appeal was to be 
established. Although included in the Bill which 
Earl Grey introduced in 1850, the federal provisions 


never came into operation, and the question of the 
creation of a General Assembly remained in abeyance 
until Wentworth attached to the memorable report 
of the Select Committee of the New South Wales 
Council on the Constitution the opinion that " the 
establishment at once of a General Assembly to make 
laws in relation to intercolonial questions " was a 
matter of the highest importance. It was considered 
inexpedient to embody the provisions for carrying 
out this scheme in the Constitution Bill of New South 
Wales, but a wish was expressed that the Imperial 
Parliament would pass a special Act to attain the 
desired end. When Wentworth was shortly after- 
wards in England, he made still further efforts to 
bring about the establishment of a General Assembly, 
and took an active part in the proceedings of the 
" General Association for the Australian Colonies," 
which in 1857 presented a petition to the Secretary 
of State urging the necessity of immediate legislation 
to sanction the formation of a federal body. A Bill 
was even drafted by Wentworth and sent along with 
the petition, but the Secretary of State declined to 
take action in the matter. 

In the colonies themselves the subject was also 
receiving some attention, in both New South 
Wales in 1856 and in Victoria in 1857 Select Com- 
mittees were appointed to consider the best means 
of legislating on matters of common interest. The 
report of the Victorian Committee, which recom- 
mended the holding of an Intercolonial Conference, 
was passed by both houses ; but in New South 
Wales the necessary resolutions were delayed in the 


Assembly, and although the report urged that the 
matter " could not be longer postponed without the 
danger of creating serious grounds of antagonism and 
jealousy, which would tend greatly to embarrass, if 
not entirely to prevent, its future settlement upon a 
satisfactory basis," Parliament was prorogued without 
anything having been done. Many years passed 
before another attempt to effect federal government 
was made ; but meanwhile three colonies — New 
South Wales, South Australia, and Victoria — entered 
into an agreement to suspend the collection of cus- 
toms duties on the border for three years, thus 
making the overland trade between the colonies 
practically unrestricted. This might have led to a 
more complete scheme for joint action had not 
Victoria abrogated the agreement before the three 
years had expired. 

In 1 88 1 a conference was held in Sydney at which 
a Bill was framed, under the guidance of Sir Henry 
Parkes, creating a partly legislative and partly ad- 
ministrative body ; but it was only intended " to 
pave the way to a complete federal organisation here- 
after." For the next two years no steps were taken 
to bring the measure into operation, but in 1883 
another conference met in Sydney, at which repre- 
sentatives from all the colonies were present, and the 
old Bill of 1 88 1 was slightly altered, and forwarded to 
England, where it was passed by the Imperial Parlia- 
ment in 1885. Under the Federal Council Act, as 
this law was called, the function of the Council was 
simply to give advice, and it possessed no executive 
authority whatever. The necessary enabling Acts 


were passed, at first by four colonies and later by 
South Australia, but New South Wales and New 
Zealand have persistently declined to join. The first 
session was held in Hobart in 1886, and several 
meetings have since taken place, but the inherent 
weakness of the whole scheme has rendered the 
deliberations of the Council of but small importance. 
In 1887 another step was taken in the direction of 
common action in matters of mutual interest. The 
progress of Australian commerce had been so great, 
and the increase in wealth so rapid, that it became 
necessary to largely augment the naval force in 
Australian waters. Accordingly the Australasian 
Naval Force Act was passed. By this measure it is 
provided that there shall be a force of sea-going ships 
of war, consisting of five fast cruisers and two tor- 
pedo gunboats, having the same status as warships of 
the same class in the Imperial Navy, and under the 
sole control of the naval commander-in-chief of the 
Australian squadron. The ships are to be retained 
within the limits of the station in times of peace or 
war, and they may be only sent beyond those limits 
with the special consent of the Australian Govern- 
ments. The Imperial Government agreed to provide 
for the first cost of these vessels, and all other charges 
previous to their arrival in Australia, but the colonies 
at the same time undertook to pay 5 per cent, on the 
first cost, but such payment not to exceed the sum of 
;^3 5,000 per annum, and in addition to bear the 
expense, up to ;^9 1,000, of maintaining three fast 
cruisers with one gunboat in commission and the 
other in reserve. The annual contribution of the 


several colonies is calculated in proportion to their 
population, the agreement is for ten years, terminable 
only by two years' notice. 

The most important step towards the federation 
of the Australasian colonies was, however, taken in 
February, 1890, when a conference of the representa- 
tives of the seven colonies met in Parliament House, 
Melbourne, on February 6th. Two representatives 
attended from each of the colonies except Western 
Australia, which sent only one, and at seven meetings 
the question of federation was discussed at length. 
Finally, the Conference adojDted an address to the 
Queen, expressing loyalty, and enclosing resolutions 
which affirmed the expediency of an immediate union 
under the Crown of the Australasian colonies. It 
was also recommended that steps should be taken for 
the appointment of delegates to a national Austra- 
lasian Convention, to frame a scheme for a Federal 
Constitution. Delegates were subsequently duly 
appointed by the different Australasian Parliaments, 
and on March 2, 1891, the Convention met in Sydney. 
There were forty-five members, the most notable 
public men in the colonies, each state sending seven 
delegates, with the exception of New Zealand, which 
only sent three. Sir Henry Parkes, who was practi- 
cally the author of this latest federation movement, 
was unanimously elected President of the Convention, 
and Sir Samuel Griffiths, Premier of Queensland, 
Vice-President. The public were admitted to the 
debates, and an official record of the proceedings was 
published. A series of resolutions, moved by Sir 
Henry Parkes, were, after full discussion, adopted 



with slight amendment. The resolutions as carried 
were : — 

" That in order to establish and secure an enduring 
foundation for the structure of a Federal Government, 
the principles embodied in the Resolutions following 
be agreed to : — 

" (i) That the powers and privileges and territorial 
rights of the several existing colonies shall remain 
intact, except in respect to such surrenders as may be 
agreed upon as necessary and incidental to the power 
and authority of the National Federal Government, 

" (2) No State shall be formed by separation from 
another State, nor shall any State be formed by the 
junction of two or more States or parts of States, 
without the consent of the legislatures of the States 
concerned, as well as of the Federal Parliament. 

" (3) That the trade and intercourse between the 
Federated Colonies, whether by means of land cairiage 
or coastal navigation, shall be absolutely free. 

" (4) That the power and authority to impose 
Customs duties, and duties of Excise upon goods the 
subject of Customs duties, and to offer bounties, shall 
be exclusively lodged in the Federal Government and 
Parliament, subject to such disposal of the revenues 
thence derived as shall be agreed upon. 

" (5) That the military and naval defence of 
Australia shall be entrusted to federal forces under 
one command. 

" (6) That provision should be made in the Federal 
Constitution which will enable each State to make 
Such amendments in its constitution as may be neces- 
sary for the purposes of the Federation. 


" Subject to these and other necessary conditions, 
this Convention approves of the framing of a Federal 
Constitution which shall establish — 

" (i) A Parliament, to consist of a Senate and a 
House of Representatives, the former consisting of 
an equal number of members from each colony, to be 
elected by a system which shall provide for tlie 
periodical retirement of one-third of the members, so 
securing to the body itself a perpetual existence, 
combined with definite responsibility to the electors, 
the latter to be elected by districts formed on a 
population basis, and to possess the sole power of 
originating all bills appropriating revenue or imposing 

" (2) A Judiciary, consisting of a Federal Supreme 
Court, which shall constitute a High Court of Appeal 
for Australia. 

" (3) An Executive, cons'sting of a Governor- 
General, and such persons as may from time to time 
be appointed as his advisers." 

Three committees were appointed — one to consider 
and report upon matters relating to Finance, Taxa- 
tion, and Trade ; another to make recommendations 
concerning the establishment of a Federal Judiciary ; 
and a third to frame a Bill for the establishment of a 
Federal Constitution. On the 31st of March Sir 
Samuel Griffiths, the chairman of the Committee on 
Constitutional Machinery, brought up a draft " Bill 
to constitute the Commonwealth of Australia." After 
consideration the Bill was adopted on the 9th of April, 
and it was resolved by the convention that the Parlia- 
ment of each colony should submit it to the people of 


the several States. It was also agreed that so soon 
as the constitution should be adopted by three of the 
colonies the Imperial Parliament should be urged to 
establish the Federal Government forthwith. 

So far, although the question has been debated in 
the Parliaments of some of the colonies, nothing 
definite has been done, and the whole question has 
been regarded by the great bulk of the population 
with singular apathy. That some such federal 
organisation must be brought into existence no one 
can doubt, for the anomalies of hostile tariffs, varia- 
tions in the gauge of railways, appeal to the Privy 
Council, and numerous other matters demand atten- 
tion and reform which can only be effected by joint 
action on the part of the whole of the provinces. 
It is difficult to foretell how or when the desired 
consummation will be reached, but the sooner a 
Federal Government is established the sooner will 
the colonies of Australasia take their proper place 
amonest the nations of the world. 


Statistics of the Commonwealth of Australia, 1890-91. 






Area under 






New South Wales 







436 459 











South Australia . . 






Western Australia 












New Zealand 






Australasia .. 












Exports of 
Total Trade. Domestic 

of Tele- 

of Line. 

New South Wales. 













£ £ 

44,660,941 17,232,725 
36,220,237 10,291,821 
13,621,2121 8,412,244 
17,295,7651 4,550,139 
1,546,260 659,661 
3,384,504 1,430,806 
16,072,245 9,428,761 





South Australia . . 
Western Australia . 


New Zealand .... 

Australasia . . 



132,801, 164 52,006, 157 


I I , 990 


Statistics of the Commonwealth of Australia, 1890-91. 



Deposits in 


Public Debt. 

New South Wales 




























South Australia 

Western Australia 


New Zealand 






Occupation of Lands at the Commencement of 1891. 


Area of Colony. 

Area Alienated 

or in process of 


Area Leased. 

Area neither 

Alienated nor 


New South Wales . 




















13,425,303 . 










South Australia . . 
Western Australia . 


New Zealand .... 

Australasia . . 





Alienation of Lands at the Commencement of 1891. 


Area Alienated 
in Fee Simple. 

Area in 
process of 

Area Alienated 

or in process of 


Area neither 

Alienated nor 

in process of 


New South Wales .... 





















South Australia 

Western Australia. . . . 

New Zealand 






* Includes 841,621 acres held under perpetual lease. + Return not available. 



Aborigines' . influence of white 
men on, Q ; Governor Phillip 
and the, 39 ; conflicts with, 40 ; 
treatment under King, 51 ; under 
Macquarie, 92 ; in Western 
Australia, 281 ; conflicts with 
explorers, 281, 310 ; in Queens- 
land, 333, 337 ; in Victoria, 
229 ; in Tasmania, 185 ; 
197-200 ; affray at Hobart, 
185 ; G. A. Robinson's dealings 
with, 200; Governor Arthur 
and, 197-199 ; at Flinder's 
Island, 200 
Adelaide, foundation of, 299 
Agriculture, 172 
Akaroa, the French at, 362 
Arabanoo captured by Phillip, 40 
Arthur, Colonel George, in Tas- 
mania, 192 ; dealings with the 
natives, 197-199 ; press laws, 


Auckland, seat of Government 
removed from, 409 

Australia, Bank of, lottery, 125 

Australia first discovered, 2 ; oc- 
cupied by England, 9 ; arrival 
of first immigrants in, 99 ; 
commonwealth of, 432 

Australian Colonies Government 
Bill, 139 


Ballaarat, riots at, 253 et seq. 
Bank establishment of first, 122 
Bank of Australia lottery, 125 

Bank savings, 115 

Banks, Sir Joseph, with Captain 
Cook, 7 ; his letter to Bligh, 

Bannister Saxe, 99 

Batman, John, 227 ; and the 
bushrangers, 228 ; at Port 
Phillip, ih. 

Baxter with Eyre, 307 ; killed by 
blacks, 310 

Bay of Islands, whalers at, 351 ; 
fighting at, 363 

Bent, Judge, and Macquarie, 95 

Bigge, report of Mr. Commis- 
sioner, 95, 97, 330 

Bligh, Captain William, 67 ; 
appointed Governor, ib. ; his 
letter from Banks, 70 ; his arbi- 
trary behaviour, 74 ; his quarrel 
with Macarthur, 74-78 ; is 
deposed, 79 ; his subsequent 
conduct, 81 

Blue Mountains, attempts to 
cross the, 91 

Botany Bay, Cook visits, 9 ; the 
first fleet in, 30 ; is abandoned, 


Bourke, Sir Richard, in Nevr 
South Wales, 114 

Bowen, Sir George, in Queens- 
land, 342 

Boyd, massacre of the crew of the, 

Brisbane, foundation of, 333 ; 

first land auction sale in, 334 
Brisbane, Sir Thomas, in New 

South Wales, 97 et seq. 



Broome, Sir Napier, in Western 
Australia, 290 

Browne, Colonel T. G., in Tas- 
mania, 381, 3S6 ; in New 
Zealand, 38 1 

Burke, Robert O'Hara, explora- 
tions of, 263 ; death, 266 

Burra Burra mines, 313 

Busby, Mr., British Resident, in 
New Zealand, 358, 359, 362 

Bushranging in Tasmania, 189 ; 
in New South Wales, 105 ; 
in Victoria, 242 ; legislation 
against, 105, 115, 159, 243 

'Cadell, Mr. Francis, navigates the 

Murray River, 316 
Cannibalism, 351, 353 
Canterbury settlement founded, 

Charter of New Zealand Com- 
pany, 359 
Chatham Islands, Te Kooti at, 

■Chinese, legislation regarding, 

424 ; outrage on, at Golden 

Point, 162 
Chisholm, Mrs. Caroline, the 

immigrants' friend, 134 
Church Mission established in 

New Zealand, 353 
Chute, General, 402 
Clarke, Rev. W. B., finds gold, 

Coal discovered, 213, 216 
Collins, David, in New South 
Wales, 44 ; commands settle- 
ment sent to Port Phillip, 222 ; 
abandons Port Phillip, ' 223 ; 
in Tasmania, 1S2 
Colonisation Companies in New 
Zealand, 361 ; in South 
Australia, 297 ; in Western 
Australia, 278 
Colonisation, Gibbon Wakefield's 

scheme for, 295 et seq. 
Colonisation Commissioners, 299 
Confiscation of land in New 
Zealand, 398 

Constitutions, changes in the, 

127, 212, 262, 290, 321, 342, 

Cook, explorations of Captain 

James, 8 ; is wrecked, 10 ; 

visits New Zealand, 8 
Copper, discoveries of, 311 
Courts of law, changes in, 98 
Crossley, George, 76 
Currency, state of, in New South 

Wales, 88 ; in South Australia, 

Customs duties, friction over, 
in Victoria, 431 ; intercolonial 
conference on, 431 


Dampier, William, explorations 
of, 6 

Darling, Sir Ralph, in New 
South Wales, loi ; the case of 
Sudds and Thompson, 106 

Darling, Sir Charles, in Victoria, 
268; is recalled, 271 ; proposed 
grant to, 271 

Davey, Colonel, in Tasmania, 197 

Denison, Sir William, in Tas- 
mania, 208 ; in New South 
Wales, 152 

De Thierry, Baron, his proclama- 
tion, 358 

Discovery, 2 et seq. 

Douglas's, Dr., quarrels with 
Marsden, 99 

Droughts, famine caused by, 105 ; 
loss of stock from, ib. 

Du Cane, Sir Charles, in Tas- 
mania, 215 

Education, early efforts at, 164 ; 

system of public, 165 
Emancipists, 84 ei seq., 103 
Embassy to England irom Vic- 
toria, 273 
Eureka Stockade, attack on, 253 
Explorations, 2 et seq. ; 107-II3, 
181, 222,263,285, 307, 337-41 
Eyre, E. J., explorations of, 307 
et seq. 



Famine, 42, 105 
Fawkner, N. S., J. P., 232 
Federal Assembly, proposals for 

a, 116 
Federal Council, establishment of, 

Female Orphan Institution found- 

ed, 58 
Financial Crisis, 124 
Firearms, sale prohibited, 369 
Fitzroy, Sir Charles, in New 

South Wales, 131 
Fitzroy, Captain, in New Zealand, 

Fleet, voyage of the first, 27 ; in 

Botany Bay, 30 
Floods, loss from, 105 
Forbes, Chief Justice, 9S 
Foveaux, Colonel, in New South 

Wales, 80 
Franklin, Sir John, in Tasmania, 

French discovery ships, 11, 32 ; 

rumours of intention to form 

settlements, 180 ; Nauto Borde- 

laise Company, 362 


General Assembly, formation of, 

Ghost story of Farley's, 104 
Gipps, Sir George, in New South 

Wales, 125 
Gladstone, Mr. W. E., and trans- 
portation, 133 
Gold, discovery of, 145 ; effect on 

wages and prices, 149 ; Mount 

Morgan, 345 
Gold fields, riots at the, 148 
Government, changes in form of, 

127, 212, 262, 290, 321, 342, 

Grey, Earl, 239 
Grey, Sir George, in New Zealand, 

Grose, Major, 47 

Hampton, Mr. J. S., in Western 
Australia, 2S4 

Hauhaus, first appearance of, 400 ; 

war with, 401 
Hawkesbury, discovery of, settlers 

at, 63 
Heke, Hone, war with, 365 
Hobart, settlement formed at, 180 
Hobson, Captain, in New Zealand, 

Hongi, wrrs .vith, 356 
Howe the uushranger, 1S9 ; death 

of, 192 
Howitt, Mr. Alfred, searches for 

Burke's party, 267 
Hunter, Captain John, in New 

South Wales, 52 ; is recalled, 



Immigration, first free, 99 ; State 
aid to, 99 ; effect of gold dis- 
coveries on, 150 

Intercolonial conference on Cus- 
toms duties, 431 


Johnson, George, is sent for by 
Bligh, 77 ; releases Macarthur, 
78 ; deposes Bligh, 79 ; trial of, 

Jury, trial by, introduced, 95 ; 

the Emancipists and, 103 
Justice, administration of, 98 


Kapunda, discovery of copper at, 

,3if . 

Kawiti joins Heke, 370 

Kennedy, Sir Arthur, in Western 
Australia, 284 

Kent, Lieutenant, and Bligh, 81 

King, Captain, P. G., at Norfolk 
Island, 35 ; with Hunter, 54 ; 
is made Governor, 54 ; and the 
liquor traffic, 57 ; troubles witli 
the military, 51 ; suppresses an 
insurrection, 62 

Kingi, Wi, a friend of the Euro- 
peans, 373, 381 ; his wars, 382 

Kooti, Te, sent to Chatham Island, 
403 ; escapes, ib. ; wars, 405 ; 
escapes into King Country, ib. 

Kororareka sacked by Heke, 366 



Labour, remuneration of, 418 ; 

trade in Island, 421 ; Parlia- 
mentary party, 428 
Latrobe, Mr., in Victoria, 236 et 

Legislatures, constitution of, 127, 

212, 262, 290, 321, 342, 411 
Leichardt, Ludwig, explorations 

of, 339; loss of, 340 
License fee, objections to, 242 
Live stock, introduction of, 170; 

Macarthur's stocks, 170; loss 

from droughts, 105 
Lowe, Mr. R. (Lord Sherbrooke), 



Macarthur, John, successfully 
grows fine wool, 55 ; ofiers his 
farm for sale to Government, 
56 ; quarrels with Bligh, 74 ; is 
imprisoned, 77 ; Imt released by 
Johnson, 78 ; petitions for 
Bligh's deposition, ib. ; is exiled 
from New South Wales, 80 

Maconochie, Captain, 203 

McCulloch's scheme for tacking 
Bills, 269 

Macquarie, Colonel Lachlan, in 
New South Wales, 84 ; report 
by Mr. Bigge on administration 
of, 95 . . 

Macquarie river, discovery of, 90 

Maoris, their character, 354, 355 ; 
captured by King to teach flax 
manufacture, 40 ; wars with, 
363 et seq. 

Marsden, Rev. Samuel, 87 

Massacres of natives, 185 ; at 
Myall Creek, 126 

Melbourne founded, 230, 235 

Mounted Police, 100 

Myall Creek, massacre at, 126 


Nauto-Bordelaise Company, 362 
Native police, 336, 369 
Native Land Courts, 402 

New South Wales, foundation of 
colony of, 33 ; early troubles in, 
38 ; supplies fail, 43 ; famine, 
44 ; arrival of provisions, 45 ; 
Phillip's departure, 47 ; military 
difficulties, 49 ; natives in, 50 ; 
wool growing commenced, 55 ; 
Hunter's administration, 50, 52 ; 
King's administratitm, 56 ; in- 
surrection of convicts, 61 ; 
Bligh's administration, 73 ; 
quarrel with Macarthur, 74 ; 
Bligh's deposition, 79 ; Mac- 
quarie's administration, 85 ; 
the rule of Brisbane and 
Darling, 97 ; Sir Richard 
Bourke in, 1 14 ; struggle for 
responsible Government in, 
116 ; dealing with Crown lands 
in, 155 ; bushranging, 158 ; 
pastoral industry in, 170 ; pre- 
sent condition of, 170 
New South Wales Corps, 48 
New Zealand, first settlement of, 
356; Maoris in, 351 et seq.; 
wars, 363 et seq. ; fears of 
French settlement in, 362 ; 
Nauto-Bordelaise Company in, 
362 ; constitution of, ib. ; loan 
policy in, 413 ; present condi- 
tion of, 414 
New Zealand Company founded, 

359 ; dissolved, 362 
Norfolk Lsland occupied, 35 
North Island, wars in, 397 


Ord, Sir Harry, in Western Aus- 
tralia, 287 
Oxley, Mr., explorations of, 330 

Parkes, Sir Henry, 433 

Parliament, the first, 152 

Pastoral interests, 171 

Payment of members in New 
South Wales, 153 ; in Victoria, 

Peel, Mr. T., in Western Aus- 
tralia, 279 



Pensioners, settlements of mili- 
tary, 376 

Perouse, La, at Botany Bay, 32 

Phillip, Captain Arthur, appointed 
first Governor, 19 ; prepara- 
tions, 21 ; on the voyage, 27 : 
heroic conduct in time of famine, 
44 ; is wounded, 40 ; leaves the 
colony, 47 

Police, native, 369 

Polynesian labour, 346 

Port Dalrymple, 184 

Port Jackson occupied by Phillip, 

Portland Bay, the Hentys at, 226 
Port Phillip, discovery of, 222 
Collins at, 223 ; is abandoned, 
225 ; Batman, 227 ; Batman at, 
227 ei seg. ; agitation for separa- 
tion from New South Wales, 
237 ; mock elections, 23S ; is 
separated, 239 
Press laws. Darling and the, 102 ; 

in Tasmania, 195 
Property Act (Torrens), 373 
Punishments, Sudds and Thomp- 
son, 106 


Queensland, Oxley at Moreton 
Bay, 332 ; treatment of natives 
in, 336 ; Pglynesian labour, 
346 ; System of government, 
343 ; gold in, 343, 345 

Railways, first line opened in New 

South Wales, 157 
Rainfall uncertain, 171 
Rauparaha Te, 363, 371 
Robinson, G. A., and the Tas- 

manian natives, 200 
Ross, Major, 38 


Settlers, first free, 99 

Sheep, introduction of, 170 ; im- 
provement in breed of, 170 

South Australia, first settlement, 
299 ; distress in, 302 ; Grey's 
administration, 305 ; discoveries 

of copper in, 31 1 ; eftectof gold 
discoveries, 316 ; overland tele- 
graph line in, 326 ; Northern 
Territory, 325 

Spain, Mr., in New Zealand, 364 

Strzelecki, Count, 145 

Sturt, Captain, his explorations, 

319. 338 
Sudds and Thompson, case of, 106 
Swan River, Freemantle's report 

on, 286 ; settlement at, 278 ; 

early disasters, 280 
Sydney Cove, Phillip selects for 

settlement, 31 

Tapu Maori Custom, 355 

Taranaki, wars in, 387 ei seq. 

Tasmania, effects of gold discovery 
on, 211 ; abolition of transpor- 
tation to, 210; constitution, 212; 
aborigines in, 185, 197-200 

Te Kooti, 403 

Te Whero Whero, 384 

Te Whiti, 406 

Telegraph overlaid, 326 

Thierry, Baron de, 358 

Thompson, Mr. Deas, 143, 146, 

Torrens, Sir R. R., Real Property 
Act, 323 

Transportation, cessation of, 210 

Treaty of Waitangi, 365 


United Tribes of New Zealand, 

University founded, 135 

Van Diemen's Land Company, 196 
Van Diemen's Land discovered, 
180; first occupied, 180 ; abori- 
gines in, 185, 197-200; martial 
law, 189; made a separate 
colony, 188 ; bushranging in, 
189 ; name changed to Tas- 
mania, 210 
Victoria, constitution of, 237 ; gold 
discoveries in, 239 ; disturbances 
at diggings, 242 ; Eureka Stock- 



ade, 253 ; constitutional diffi- 
culties, 258 ; tacking bills, 269 ; 
resources of, 275 


Wairau massacre, 363 
Wakefield, Captain, R.N., 363 
Wakefield, Colonel, 363 
Wakefield, Edward Gibbon, his 

system for colonisation, 295 et 

Wars, Maori, 363 et seq. 
Went worth, Mr. D'Arcy, 87 
Wentworth, W. C, cross the Blue 

Mountains, 91 
Western Australia, first settlement 

in, 276 ; hardships of colonists 
in, 280 ; transportation to, 282 ; 
abolition of transportation to, 
285 ; constitutional government 
in, 287 ; natural resources of, 
Whalers on New Zealand coast, 


Wilmot, Sir Eardley, m Tas- 
mania, 205 

Wynyard, Lieutenant-Colonel, in 
New Zealand, 379 

Yarra Yarra, Fawkner and Bat- 
man on the, 229, 230